In recent years, the rules that historically defined and determined the way we think about and conduct business have been sorely tested. In many cases, the rules have been found to be seriously wanting. Many of the old rules on which we had relied in the past have shown themselves to be far from perfectly suited to the modern more turbulent and unpredictable world we live in today and will likely face for the foreseeable future. Other of the rules have simply been misguided, misconceived, misappropriated or misapplied. The concept of collaboration is just one of these. Collaboration is not only measured by the level of cooperativeness shown between people and groups but also by the level of assertiveness that individuals are prepared to show as they strive for optimal outcomes.
Canadians have a terrible tendency to believe we should be artificially kind and modestly self effacing when it comes to confronting harsh realities, long-held misconceptions and serious misalignments in our organizations and their people. We do so in the misguided belief the truth might cause pain and distress and that someone’s feelings might be hurt in the process. This perspective results in a fundamentally flawed and unhealthy preference amongst many Canadian business leaders for conflict avoidance, rather than determined conflict resolution. It is based on the ill-conceived premise that, somehow, we can create high-performance organizations and build high-performance leaders by placing the values of harmony and tranquility higher on the scale of importance than straight talk and truthfulness.