Collaborative Overload

The Jan-Feb 2016 Harvard Business Review cover showing an article called "Collaborative Overload" caught my attention right before a cross country flight.  Feeling like I had plenty of time to dive into an HBR article, I courageously made a commitment to myself to read it.  

The article is oriented toward a corporate environment where people work together for years. This environment is much different from our work in the construction industry where we create new temporary production facilities for each project.  Inside our own companies, there is a need for collaboration in long term relationships with our co-workers, like a large corporate environment.  It is this style of relationship that is elaborately discussed in the HBR article.  

In my experience, there is a team-like tendency inside a construction or design company. My theory is that the competitive nature of the industry in tension with the necessity of basic collaboration on a job site generates a tribal connection with our own company employees when in the trenches wit twenty other trades and companies.  So, back at our own office, a management issue can arise out of the collaboration with our own fellow-employees that mirrors a large corporate environment.  

While "collaboration is the answer to many of today's most pressing business challenges... more isn't always better."  The HBR authors, Cross, Rebele and Grant describe thoughtful teamwork management and go so far as to suggest that there could be a senior executive position dedicated to collaboration.  

We have our silos created by our disciplines in construction, the estimators stay out of the way of the schedulers most of the time, but I am suggesting that we thoughtfully tear down those silos and apparently that includes managing the process to avoid overload.  The HBR article has some useful suggestions.  There is a chart suggesting that the strong silent types are the most sought-after for information.  Take a look: