Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Collaborative Cultures

I'm blessed to work in a very collaborative culture where people are happy to learn with and from each other.  As we are a PYP school we value collaborative planning, but I've also worked in places where competition rather than collaboration was the norm.  Michael Fullan writes that it is up to the leader to create the type of culture in which collaboration is effective and he has identified 5 elements that lead to this culture:
  1. A focus on a small number of goals - that everyone needs to pursue
  2. A guiding coalition - a strong central team so that progress is not dependent on one leader
  3. Collective capacity building - involving peer-based learning.  Fullan identifies 2 benefits of learning as a team:  improvement in a staff's knowledge of ideas and practices, and staff allegiance to peers within the organization.
  4. Individual capacity building - hiring people who will work with and complement the abilities and styles of others.
  5. Reaping the benefits of collaborative competition.  At first competition and collaboration seem to be opposites but Fullan writes that competition can be a by-product of collaboration - as people are intrinsically motivated to work together, they develop a healthy competition to do their best for the common good.  An effective change leader appreciates this combination and fosters a culture that supports both in a healthy way without leading to a win-lose mentality.
What do you think about the last point.  Can competition and collaboration work together to improve the culture of a school?

Photo Credit: gcouros via Compfight cc


  1. I love this! Will share with my TECH team... we work together to train our peers in Tech integration, specially this year as we ventured in a 1:1 iPads mini initiative for G1-12.. ;-)
    Great food for thought, as always, thx!

  2. Wonderfully identified 5 points and so apt if one has to bring in change. I strongly believe competition and collaboration go hand in hand and are needed to improve the culture of the school.

    We are also following steps in the same manner as written in your article in our school