Gimme a C! Team Collaboration starts Early and Often

 Photo by Leo Reynolds

Photo by Leo Reynolds

As I sat down for my 360° review at my first start-up job, my manager said, "Don't get stuck in the weeds." I leaned forward to hear more.

Anyone who's been through the American school system has built the habit of only showing his or her best work. It is both the introvert and the perfectionist's dilemma - holing up and working on a project until it is 99 - 100% flushed out and there are no more holes to poke.

My manager helped me see that while this can be a great strength - to produce work consistently at an A-level - in a collaborative environment it is important if not critical to first share work at the C-level.

When we all share at the C-level, everyone wins! You spend a fraction of the time you might have otherwise.  And your teammates, who are providing feedback, indeed see the holes, call them out, and are substantially happier with the next B-level draft. Moreover, they feel comfortable providing feedback in the first place, knowing that what they're responding to is not a masterpiece, but rather, the first of several drafts.

There is no team more collaborative than an innovation team. The best ideas - and pushback on ideas - occur when several brains work together to generate concepts that simultaneously extend beyond the boundaries and adhere to relevant constraints.

Producing at the C-level is liberating... and a great way to get to A.

Leave a comment below and tell us about your best C-work.