Get Together Better


How to Get People to Collaborate When You Don’t Control Their Salary by Heidi Gardner
Harvard Business Review, January 23, 2017

Heidi Gardner’s recent study of collaboration challenges, approaches, and successes at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has compelling implications for educators. As people across diverse industries face the challenge of fostering collaboration in meaningful and lasting ways, Gardner chose a constrained setting for her study wherein “collaboration doesn’t come naturally to many of the highest performers and the system seems almost geared against teamwork.” Gardner was particularly interested in how, without changing the pay or benefits structure, collaboration could be promoted and rewarded in the early stages before collaborators had the chance to experience the longer-term pay off for themselves. Her conclusions offer administrators and department chairs some useful advice: 1) start with a “coalition of the willing” and pick your battles carefully, initiating collaborations where they are most needed; 2) share the persuasive quantitative evidence of collaboration’s effectiveness; 3) help make collaborations easier for people through simple technology such as file-sharing platforms; 4) create opportunities for people to celebrate and reward one another. Certainly not all findings in other fields have relevance for education, but the desire to maximize collaboration transcends most individual workplaces and has applications for teachers and students alike.

Submitted By: Meghan Tally, Windward School, Los Angeles, CA

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