I’ve seen a lot of meetings where many activities and processes are done in the name of collaboration. In some cases, it is collaboration. In other cases, it seems like a lot of other items and issues are being disguised as collaboration. Who after all could argue against collaboration?
To be efficient, I believe collaboration requires two basic things:
1) The majority vote – If you have a session where you are collaborating on items and the majority vote is not the method of decision-making, you probably aren’t collaborating. And nothing makes people more frustrated than being led to believe they are collaborating and then the will of the majority is vetoed. That just says to the people that you are only committed to the appearance of collaboration.
2) Appropriate Level – If you have a session where the items being discussed are too high or to low for the attendee, you also don’t have efficient collaboration. In both cases, some people will lack the appropriate context to collaborate effectively. In many cases, people find the sessions interesting and valuable but it can cause issues for the collaboration to occur.
Evaluate your meetings in regards to these collaboration criteria. The common factor in these principles is that they both require delegation. The delegation to the majority decision and the delegation to not attend if the level is inappropriate. In both cases you are delegating and trusting those people.
I’d be interested in hearing other criteria you feel are required.