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Collaboration White Paper: How Suspicion and Mistrust Cripple Collaboration


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This white paper dives into the correlation between trust and collaboration. Link-up International has undertaken many years fo research to determine that a lack of trust, leading to suspicion and questioning of values and motives leads to a lack of effective collaboration.
As a result, most companies jeopardise their capability to operate at peak performance, maximum efficiencies, as well as their capability for innovation and growth. It also limits a companies ability to adopt and sustain change programs, leaving companies and individuals well short of their ultimate capability.
Link-up, through the power of Instinctive Drives® and the I.D. System® enables people to define their motivations, by applying a language to the drive or motive behind particular behaviours - rather than the behaviour itself - to help fast track the development of a platform of trust, and allowing people within organisations to "Assume Positive Intent"™, leading to much more effective collaboration.
To learn more about Instinctive Drives® and Link-up, visit

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Collaboration White Paper: How Suspicion and Mistrust Cripple Collaboration

  1. 1. How Suspicion and Mistrust Cripple CollaborationBy Paul BurgessIn today’s global organizations, there is no denying that effective collaboration iscritical for business success. Organizational transformation, major strategic initiativesand culture change simply cannot succeed without collaboration. But whether acrossthe hall or across the ocean, true collaboration relies on understanding each other,speaking the same language, aligning on common goals, and most importantly: afoundation of trust. Without trust, the dirty work of suspicion, questioning of motives andmistrust will cripple effective collaboration and derail business success.There is a lot of hype around the term collaboration, especially with the rapid growth ofsocial media and technology. Certain tools claim to heighten collaboration just byoffering a forum for communication; however effective collaboration isn’t that simple.It’s not about where people collaborate; it’s about how to make collaboration happen.It’s important to know what drives people to reach out to each other and witness thetransformational results when they do so.My organization, Link-up International, has worked with a great deal of global teamsand organizations to help them achieve business success using our I.D. System®. Wehave a deep understanding of what effective collaboration actually looks like, how itcan be achieved, why it’s critical, and how to keep it alive. Through hands-on research,we know the requirements for sparking and sustaining efficient and innovativecollaboration that will achieve business results. It requires uncovering each person’sdrives and motivations and opening a forum of communication based on trulyunderstanding each other.The Natural Default to MistrustOur research shows that most people are well intentioned; we all have a deep desire tounderstand the motivations behind people’s words and actions and/or organizationalchange. However, without a way to gain a clear understanding of how things willaffect us personally, adjustments such as shifting leadership, or merely the arrival of anew colleague, can bring about suspicion, assumptions and judgments.It’s easy for individuals and teams – especially when under stress and challengingdeliverables – to default to a place of suspicion and mistrust. This happens becausewhen people don’t understand each other’s motives, they tend to get emotional andjump to conclusions. Negative lines of questioning take over and any chance ofeffective collaboration disintegrates.As part of the natural hesitation to trust others, people can experience difficulty workingon projects with cross-functional, global or virtual co-workers. By no fault of their own,people who come from different teams/backgrounds/departments/cultures often havetrouble understanding each other, aligning on common goals and communicating atall. A common language is necessary to prevent this from happening.
  2. 2. Real, Constructive ConversationsOrganizations are much more effective and collaboration is successful when leadersand teams assume positive intent, which is much easier to do when you know howcolleagues are “wired.” Positive, constructive communication can override these(fundamentally) self- preservation elements from creeping into the workplace andopens the door for effective collaboration.Unfortunately, people separated by geography or who may not see eye-to-eyefrequently avoid real conversations and don’t try to work through misunderstandings.Clearly, this negatively impacts teams, departments and even the organization overall.Real, constructive conversations are steeped with personal awareness of one’s ownmotivations and generate a better understanding of others. They help people align oncommon goals, problems and solutions without jumping to conclusions. And they builda foundation of trust.A common language makes conversations easier, by creating understanding,cooperation and engagement. (At Link-up and within all organizations that we’veworked with, this common language is referred to as I.D.™). I.D. serves as a commonlanguage to discuss needs and motivations and creates awareness about whatindividuals and teams need to be “in-stride” and how to sustainably deliver businesssuccess.Once a common language is established, teams, partners and organizations can havethose tough conversations (e.g. difficult co-workers, organizational change, poorresults) and achieve constructive outcomes without hurting relationships.How I.D. Allows for Constructive ConversationsLink-up’s I.D. System puts an end to the vicious cycle of misunderstanding andmiscommunication by uncovering a person’s Instinctive Drives® and facilitatingconversations among colleagues. I.D. defines why you do what you do; what drivesand motivates you; and what you need to be your best.Through a self-administered assessment and personalized results, the I.D. System buildsself-awareness and understanding and identifies how each person can be effective,productive and fulfilled. I.D. defines natural talents and shows how to leverage them. Italso explains how to manage vulnerabilities and how to build an understanding of howpeople see the world and the world sees them.However, in an organization, the key isn’t merely self-awareness, it’s understandingwhat drives each of us differently, how to maximize relationships and speak the samelanguage.Through a facilitated, open sharing of each team member’s I.D™s, Link-up’s consultantshelp companies by taking people through the following process: You learn about you You learn about them (your co-workers) They learn about themselves Theylearn about you. As a result, people gain a foundation of knowledge and trust and startspeaking the same I.D. language.Each individual I.D. report provides personalized tips, processes and strategies forworking and living at maximum potential, which can be digested and shared withothers. When colleagues understand I.D., they approach conversations from an entirelydifferent level and can say things such as, “It’s the Verify in me that makes me ask…” Or“As an Avoid Authenticate, I may not explain the whole picture clearly enough, soplease let me know.” Team members will know where they are coming from and
  3. 3. suspicions are removed. Additionally, it brings peace to individuals when they knowthat others understand their own motivations and genuine intentions.The I.D. System also transforms relationships and conversations by breaking downbarriers. For example, two people with different approaches to the same problem canquickly see why they are in conflict and, more importantly, what to do differently to bemore in sync. Clearly this course of action is better than heated debates,procrastination or the passive aggressive behavior of doubting each other’s motives,jumping to conclusions and wrongly judging the other’s behaviors as attitudinal ordevious. Unfortunately, this is what normally happens when natural suspicions are atplay.Knowledge about individual I.D.s accelerates projects, creates alignment and ensuressuccess. From a leadership perspective, it allows leaders to leverage natural strengthsto foster effective collaboration.Overall, The I.D. System removes the crippling effects of suspicion, questioning andmistrust because it explains individual needs and motivations, builds a platform for trustand real, constructive conversations and accelerates collaboration.How Does I.D. Keep Collaboration Alive and Effective Over the Long Term?I.D. offers that intersection where people with different experiences, perspectives androles can meet and align on common goals and truly collaborate. It serves as a catalystto trust where people can think and express themselves in the language of I.D.For example, if someone knows why they are driven to ask questions, or to prepare apresentation at the last minute, or need time to process, they can explain to others thatit’s their natural drive to do so. Then it’s what people do with this insight that mattersmost: building strategies to leverage natural talents and mitigate vulnerabilities. Andthose who understand I.D. know what their colleagues are referring to because theyspeak the same language.A platform for long-term business success is built when people know and use the I.D.System.Case Study: Collaboration as a business driverHere’s an example of how the I.D. System has improved and heightened collaborationand improved an overall business. An organization we work with, like many others, hada culture of silos, including duplicate functions that cost time, money and resources.However, leadership knew true, effective collaboration is what would allow them toimprove internally and externally to enhance the brand and competitiveness in themarketplace.From the CEO down, the company had a corporate–wide commitment to improvecollaboration and avoid destructive, internal competition between silos. There was alsoa very intentional objective of building trust by sharing and understanding what driveseach other.To meet this objective of trust, individuals within the organization took their I.D. to growself-awareness and to learn more about each other. By identifying each person’sInstinctive Drives, needs, talents and vulnerabilities, I.D. helped people overcomejudgments, built and restored trust levels, and delivered everyone to a common
  4. 4. ground.As a result, external complaints to the company dropped drastically, costs associatedwith the organization’s call center decreased dramatically, cost efficiency skyrocketed,employee morale improved and internal complaints went down. Its customer base alsogrew exponentially and it breached a gap for customer satisfaction that had previouslyhindered the organization.Albeit brief, this is only one example, among many, where we have seen organizationsuse Instinctive Drives to stop negative assumptions and behaviors and drasticallyimprove collaboration.I encourage all leaders to take a look at their organization and consider thesequestions: • Do you have a solid foundation of trust? • Do colleagues understand each other’s personal and professional motivations? • Do co-workers speak the same language? • Is collaboration accelerating the business? • Is collaboration a source of competitive advantage for your business?If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to start speaking the samelanguage through I.D. As proven many times before, it will have a tremendous impacton any organization.