November 12, 2012

5 Ways to Become Less Collaborative at Work

I spend so much time yammering — the word, not the product — about collaboration and how to become more collaborative as a leader (and team member) that over the years I’ve neglected those of you that are looking to become less collaborative. I sincerely apologize for this oversight.

As Neil Young once said, “this note’s for you.”

1) Ignore Your Email

  • I know, the sure volume of email continues to rise so what’s the point in answering it?
  • Why not ignore it altogether? Tell everyone you know from this day forward you’re going to pretend email doesn’t exist – a bit like what Canadians do with Celine Dion and Nickelback.
  • Benefit? You’ve now saved the 50% of your day currently devoted to answering email which you can now use being more non-collaborative on other initiatives and opportunities.

2) Cease All Meetings

  • What’s the point of meetings anyway? Does it really matter if you’re there or not? I mean wouldn’t it make more sense for you to stop setting them altogether? When asked to attend a meeting, why even bother showing up?
  • Whenever a calendar request shows up in your inbox, immediately delete it. Treat it like the junk mail that shows up at your home.
  • Benefit? You can now make decisions in your office without the distraction of other people’s opinion and input. The time you’d save by foregoing debate and discussion is infinite. You’re also saving your voice (laryngitis is nasty) and surely preventing the potential for contracting any airborne or tactile germs from your colleagues.

3) Command and Control

  • This might be a continuation of your current leadership style. If that’s the case, shazam … more time for you to be less collaborative. If you’re new to command and control, it might take some getting used to.
  • First step is to stop listening to your team. (Think Pat Sajak – he clearly wasn’t listening to anyone when he started that awful nighttime talk show) Second, think of all the ideas yourself. (This is a huge time saver) Third, once you’ve got the idea, instruct someone on your team to tell everyone what they should do and by what deadline. Insist there be no questions. Enforce perfection.
  • Benefits? What’s not to love about ‘command and control’. You get to act like a King from medieval times ordering people around without a care for their feelings or wellbeing. Jack Welch may even give you a prize.

4) Office Ivory Tower

  • It may seem counterintuitive, but to become less collaborative, you’re going to want to find an office tower that allows you to close yourself off from everyone else in the organization. In fact, an open office environment is alleged to kill creativity.
  • Exclusivity, superiority and righteousness is the new black; why park yourself in an open office environment when the top floor — with a private elevator hopefully — can seal you off from the peons and subordinates.
  • Benefits? Now you can really ‘get things done‘ by omitting employee interactions with you of any sort. Win-win when you think about it. Much like the reunion tour of the Jackson 5 featuring a hologram of Michael himself.

5) Mandate Classroom Training Only

  • Start sending everyone back to class. Corporate training is a $135 billion industry and there has never been a better time to stop the silliness of informal or social learning; two culprits of a more collaborative organization.
  • To become personally less collaborative, start mandating two weeks of classroom training for every employee. You must insist, however, that no other learning takes place in the organization. Two weeks in a classroom and that’s it and your employees are not to discuss with you what they learned either.
  • Benefits? You (and your employees) won’t be tempted by the inanity of collaboration tools or practices found in informal or social learning and as a result, you’ll be saving time, effort and money. It’s a bit like imagining there was a Frederick Taylor University … wait, there is one. Hallelujah.

There you have it. My top five ways in which to become less collaborative.

Of course, if you disagree, there’s always the Flat Army method. (coming soon)

Dan’s Newest Book

Click for details about Dan’s latest book, Work-Life Bloom.

Buy Dan's Books
Listen to Dan's Podcast
Read Dan's Column On