More Collaboration is Better for Your Ministry – Until It’s Not

Collaboration is an important part of innovation.  The days of the lone genius are gone (if they ever really existed at all) – now, it takes a network to innovate.

But how much collaboration do we need?

In his new book To Sell is Human, Dan Pink talks about some interesting findings in the research of Adam Grant.  Grant looks at sales results relative to a person’s level of extraversion.  Everyone knows that extraverts make the best salespeople, right?  Well, wrong, actually.  Check this out:

Sales Revenue - Extraversion

Pink says:

As you can see from the chart, the folks who fared the best — by a wide margin — were the in the modulated middle. They’re called “ambiverts,” a term that has been in the literature since the 1920s. They’re not overly extraverted. They’re not overly introverted. They’re a little of both.

He adds more detail in this post, and also has a test where you can test whether or not you’re an ambivert too.

The key question is why does it turn back down?  This upside-down U shape is actually a very common research finding.   You frequently see it in systems that require attention.  Usually, it means that if you have too many team members involved, you can’t pay enough attention to each, and your results start to get worse.

This is interesting for a three reasons.

  • We often search for black and white answers – but life rarely offers them.
  • Is collaboration good?  Yes, but only up to a point.
  • Is extraversion good if you’re a salesperson (and all leaders are “selling” something)?  Yes, but only up to a point.

Figuring out where that point lies is part of the art of managing.  And being comfortable with the ambiguity in this is an even bigger part being a leader.

So just remember: more is better, but only until it’s not.

Read more from Tim here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

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I was on a committee that closed churches. It killed me that we could close a church one week and the next week it would open with a different name and different denomination and cars would be parked up and down the street. Why? Why? Why?
 
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Recently I visited a Church and I was #1 put off by the timing of the meet and greet. 10 minutes after the Pastor had begun speaking he stopped for the m & g, which totally throwed the focus off from the sermon. Which made me think "wow" could that not have been done at the beginning or end. And #2 at no time during the sermon was a biblical passage given to back up what the Pastor referred to in his comments. I didn't go back as I didn't feel God's presence guiding that church.
 
— Darla
 
Solid article. I was once handed a list of 6 things I had done wrong over the previous 45 days. While some of them had indeed been things that had been discussed (usually in a 30-second conversation- nothing to indicate that they were real "problems") the vast majority of them were trumped up nonsense. When I asked this person why he never walked down to my office, less than 20 feet away form his, to discuss them, he told that he was unable to manage me. Pathetic. He then handed it to me to sign. None of the elders had signed it, and when I asked about that, he had one of them who was present in the building sign it. Interestingly, he never even signed his own name in the space provided. I asked for a copy signed by ALL of the elders multiple times afterward, and never received it. I later from one of them that he had not sought approval prior to giving it to me, despite typing their names on the document as though he had.
 
— John Mulholland (@xjm716)
 

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