Andrew Dietz is Founder and President of Creative Growth Group, Inc., a business development firm that exclusively helps professional service organizations sharpen growth strategies, enhance client development capabilities, and implement marketing and business development initiatives.

Sarah Miller Caldicott is the great grandniece of Thomas Alva Edison, CEO of the consulting firm PowerPatterns and the author of four books that bring Edison’s innovation and business leadership prowess to 21st Century businesses.  In her most recent book is Midnight Lunch:  The 4 Phases of Team Collaboration Success from Thomas Edison’s Lab,  Ms. Caldicott described four phases of collaboration evident in the Menlo Park lab of Thomas Edison. Her advice: Mind (and Mine) the Four Phases To Accelerate Collaboration For great service deliver, creating compelling client experiences and revving team-based business development.

Sarah Miller Caldicott described the four phases of collaboration evident in the Menlo Park lab of Thomas Edison.

  1. Capacity – Form small, diverse, nimble teams (2 to 8 people) of professionals capable of discovery learning and collegiality.  Create organizational rituals that enable colleagues to productively bond.
  2. Context – Consider the circumstances surrounding your collaborative initiative and first ask a question instead of leaping to problem resolution.  Instead of trying to address the problem statement that’s presented, Edison would ask, “Well, let’s think about this statement and what is behind it.  What’s the back story on that?”
  3. Coherence – Maintain collaborative momentum through visibly committed leadership and through clarifying and celebrating progress towards goals.
  4. Complexity – Organize in flat, flexible structures to respond to complexity and chaos with agility.  Capture your team’s work effort in a way that makes it easier to visualize and wrestle with your complex circumstances and the team’s progress through it.

This post is part of a series recapping the event, Creating Collaborative Advantage: How To Get Fiercely Independent Professionals To Collaborate For The Benefit Of Each Other, Their Firm and Their Clients hosted by SilverEdge, along with its partners Deltek and Creative Growth Group.