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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Recent Comments
I'm not gonna buy the hype that somehow we can better market the church if take a survey and then address the top-ten issues. The reality is that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9); in other words we will fabricate excuses to cover the truth. All these reasons are subterfuge for the one true reason: they shun the, "Light for fear that (their) deeds will be exposed." (John 3:20b). Not one of these folks mentioned an improper presentation of the Word of God. The Good News is that we know the #1 reason why 'most' people reject a church and the best way to address this problem is to lovingly expose and confront it. Oh people will still walk out, but at least they'll know why they're leaving, rather than buying into their own lies.
 
— Dave Wells
 
My first Sunday visiting a church the pastor used every racial epithet imaginable in his sermon. He was trying to make a point and there was some context for the slurs. But, it was shocking to hear from the pulpit words that would've made me cover my children's ears if they'd be sitting with me. My take-away: this pastor knew, when preparing his sermon, that not one person of color would be sitting in his pews; he was absolutely assured there would be no members or visitors he needed to be sensitive towards. When I met him in the shake-hands-line after the sermon I opened my mouth to protest and he physically used my hand to pull me past him so that I could not stop to talk (he had made eye-contact during the sermon and seen my shocked face). Incidentally, the church had the saddest children's program (cold, dark basement room with ONE class for K-12 consisting of about five kids). There was zero signage and when I asked someone where the kid's program was they said they'd been attending for years but had no idea where the room was. Then, at the coffee hour I was handed one dixie cup of red kool-aid for myself and my two kids to share with a stern warning not to spill it on their new carpet. Needless to say, that was our first and last visit. I left wondering how this private, rich, old white people's club possibly earned the name "church" on their sign out front. I know this is an extreme case but I've never forgotten it. I live in a pretty liberal northern town with a big university and I just hadn't imagined this kind of behavior went on in my own backyard.
 
— Sarah
 
I am amazed! All of this complaining about God's people seeking to be friendly and show love by greeting one another (even if not always done to your expectations) is the height of consumeristic, "what about me?" faux Christianity. Sure God's people don't always get it right, but these are petty complaints. If these were stated by unbelievers it might be one thing, but it seems to me, that almost every post is by someone with a great deal of church experience. Let's go to church to worship God, learn and love one another. Then go into the world to love and make disciples. Come on people show some grace and be a light of love!
 
— Ralph Jones
 

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