The most important aspect in successful collaboration is an underlying trust. Why is trust so crucial to collaboration? trust gives people the psychological safety that their contribution will be taken seriously, in a respecting manner. An individual will not be interested in joining a team or work with a team where trust is missing, unless forced to.
There are a few circles of trust:
- Within a team
- Between teams
- Cross orgs
The fundamentals are fairly similar between the three. All three have some differences, but I will not cover them in this post, as I want to focus on the shared basics.
Assume Good Faith
This rule of thumb is a core principle of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is built on this principle in a similar way many open source projects adopt it. You can’t build a global, distributed project without assuming people came to contribute to your efforts in a good manner. The same is true in our case. You must assume all the people involved in your team, project or work came in good faith.
But assuming good faith is not enough, you need to demonstrate your good faith as well, as faith is somewhat contiguous. Articulate your honest motives and show your willingness to compromise. Once you do so, you’d be surprised to find out suddenly other start doing so as well.
When dealing with another person, it is easy to assume that person is clueless, ignorant or simply stupid. Such an attitude will not produce good outcomes. Most people are totally competent, and are in a position for a reason. If you do not have evidence pointing otherwise, there is no reason to assume otherwise.
The term ‘presume competence ‘ comes from disabilities study field, but i am happy to adopt it to a general case of inclusion and believing in people in general. After all, we are all a bit disabled, and need self trust and external trust from others.
What happens if you do not assume good faith and presume competence? When those two key view points are lacking trust is usually dead, and we all know the consequences of death are grave. Trust the people around you, it will improve your and their lives.