At Auxano, we practice what we preach.
Our primary tool for working with organizations is the Vision Frame, consisting of Mission, Values, Strategy, Measures, and Vision Proper. Before we led the first client through the process over 11 years ago, the original team of Will Mancini, Jim Randall, and Cheryl Marting worked out Auxano’s Vision Frame – which we still follow today.
One of our Values is Collaborative Genius, which is accomplished partly by the fact that we are a virtual company of over 20 team members living in 15 cities across 4 time zones.
I only thought I knew what collaboration meant!
In my adult work career, I have served as the accountant in an office setting for a food services company, an audiovisual technician as part of a team of 7 for a seminary, various roles on 3 church staff teams, a church consultant for a design-build company, and as the Vision Room Curator for Auxano.
That’s 36+ years in an environment of multiple team members, ostensibly working together for the good of the organization.
Was I collaborating with others, or merely part of a team?
Collaboration is not the same thing as teamwork. Teamwork is simply doing your part. Collaboration involves leveraging the power of every individual to bring out each other’s strengths and differences. – Greg Cox, COO, Dale Carnegie, Chicago
At Auxano, we don’t just do our part, we collaborate to deliver excellence in all we do. Here’s a great example: our book summaries for leaders, called SUMS Remix.
The original concept of SUMS was dreamed up by our founder, Will Mancini. When I joined Auxano as Vision Room Curator, it was natural that the SUMS project fall under my guidance. Working from a curated list of books with a focus on the Vision Frame, I read the designated book and wrote the draft summary with recommended resources. I then oversaw the following process:
- Proofing by Mike Gammill, a scholar and grammatical genius
- Navigator Applications written by 4 of our full-time Navigators, applying the concepts to the local church leadership context thru their unique lens
- Editing by Cheryl Marting, who has eagle eyes
- Review editing by Angela Reed, a production editor at our parent company, LifeWay
- Design by James Bethany and our Creative Team, who produce a visual masterpiece every time
- Final review and approval by Will
Beginning in the fall of 2012, every two weeks, a SUMS was distributed to the SUMS subscriber list. Practically every day of that two weeks, some of the actions above were taking place within our team as we work on multiple books at the same time.
As we neared the end of our second year of SUMS, Will and I refined a concept that came to be called SUMS Remix. Instead of a single summary of one book, SUMS Remix consists of brief excerpts from three books, focused on providing simple solutions to a common problem statement that ministry leaders are facing every week in their churches.
SUMS Remix launched in November of 2014, and we release an issue every two weeks. And a similar collaboration process described above is still taking place.
The collaboration process for SUMS Remix is very similar to the one above, but on steroids! Because SUMS Remix involves 3 books for every issue, and we have a 5 week production cycle, and we release an issue every two weeks – well, without collaboration, it just wouldn’t – no, couldn’t – happen.
At any given time during that 5-week cycle, books are being read, notes are being taken, drafts are being written, drafts are being revised, additional research is being conducted, finished drafts are being designed, proofs are being reviewed, and the final SUMS Remix issue is being delivered.
Want to see the end product of that collaboration? You can learn more about SUMS Remix here.
I’m indebted to Sara Miller Caldicott, great grandniece of Thomas Edison and author of the book Midnight Lunch, for translating Edison’s world-changing innovation methods for use in the 21st century. Here are some of her thoughts on collaboration:
True collaboration embraces:
- A discovery learning mindset versus a pure task orientation
- A belief in anticipating and creating rather than merely reacting and responding
- Presence of inspiration across multiple facets of both individual and team endeavors
- Coherence of purpose
- A dedication to elevating the performance of every team member
- Connections to human and social networks of influence
Do these qualities sound different from the ones valued by your team? Do they draw upon ideas that feel new or seem broader than your current concept of what teamwork embraces?
Based on my experience, the answer would be yes.
So what are you going to do about it?