What does “working together” really mean?

Please Don’t “Collaborate!”


We love to collaborate, but what does “collaborate” mean? My business partner, Olivier Compagne, says it this way…

If we really want a role to “collaborate” with another role, then it’s much clearer to specify the nature of that collaboration. Do we want the role to “consider suggestions” from another role? Or, “integrate objections”? Or, even “integrate input”? Or, do we really mean “Execute… as directed” by another role? Some options are better than others depending on the context, but regardless of which one we choose, Holacracy pushes us to make a conscious decision about it.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with “collaboration,” but that word alone usually doesn’t give us much clarity. In fact, it may obscure as much as it illuminates.



Chris Cowan, EdD., MDiv.

I write about self-management, leadership, and Holacracy®