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168 Richard Hackman: Collaborative Intelligence

The book presents a framework for how to create and lead effective teams to tackle complex and challenging problems that require collaboration among different individuals and disciplines.

Richard Hackman: Collaborative Intelligence


Collaboration is critical to solving many of the problems we face today, but it's not always easy to achieve. Collaborative Intelligence provides a research-based framework for creating and leading teams that can work together effectively. It explores the characteristics of successful teams and the factors that contribute to their success, including the importance of a clear and compelling goal, a balance of expertise, and a focus on results. The book also covers the challenges of collaboration and provides practical advice for overcoming them. Whether you're a team leader, member, or consultant, Collaborative Intelligence will help you build more effective teams that can solve complex problems and achieve great things.


Title: Collaborative Intelligence: Using Teams to Solve Hard Problems

Author: Richard Hackman

Publishing Year: 2015

Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Length in hours: 8 hours and 47 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Successful collaboration requires a clear and compelling goal, shared by all team members, that provides focus and motivation.
  2. Teams should be composed of individuals with diverse expertise and perspectives to ensure a balance of skills and knowledge.
  3. Effective communication is critical to successful collaboration, and teams should establish clear and open channels of communication.
  4. Collaboration requires a degree of trust and mutual respect among team members, and leaders should foster a supportive and inclusive team culture.
  5. Teams should focus on results and be willing to adapt and change course as needed to achieve their goals.
Richard Hackman: Collaborative Intelligence

5 funny quotes

  1. "I’ve never met a manager who thinks their people are all above-average performers, but I’ve met plenty who behave as if they are."
  2. "The best way to deal with a dysfunctional team is to avoid joining one in the first place."
  3. "I have come to realize that there are only two types of people in the world: those who hate meetings, and those who are in charge of them."
  4. "Meetings are a great way to exchange information that could be better conveyed in an email."
  5. "If the team is in disarray, it’s time for a staff meeting. If the staff is in disarray, it’s time for a team meeting."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Teams can learn how to make the most of their differences; they can develop a collective intelligence that is greater than the sum of its parts."
  2. "Asking for feedback is not an imposition on others; it’s a way to show respect for their knowledge and experience."
  3. "The single best way to enhance the performance of your team is to improve your own skills and behaviors as a leader."
  4. "The best teams are those whose members are both skillful and mutually supportive; they also have a strong sense of their own collective identity and purpose."
  5. "One of the most important things a leader can do is to promote a climate of psychological safety in the team."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing individual creativity with collaboration and teamwork in creative endeavors such as film or music.
  2. Encouraging honest and constructive feedback without creating a culture of criticism and negativity.
  3. Addressing conflicts and disagreements within a team while maintaining a positive and productive working environment.
  4. Managing the tension between autonomy and interdependence in teams, especially when team members have different skills and levels of experience.
  5. Fostering collaboration and teamwork while also recognizing and rewarding individual contributions and achievements.

5 examples

  1. Pixar’s creative process and how it enables diverse perspectives to work together to produce successful films.
  2. Google’s People Operations department and how it uses data and analytics to make informed decisions about hiring, training, and managing employees.
  3. The Joint Strike Fighter program and how it struggled with issues of collaboration between different teams and organizations.
  4. The Emergency Department of Massachusetts General Hospital and how a redesign of the physical space improved collaboration and patient care.
  5. The band U2 and how they work collaboratively to create music, with a focus on each member’s strengths and contributions.

Referenced books

Other books quoted or referenced in "Collaborative Intelligence" (five books):

  1. "The Wisdom of Crowds" by James Surowiecki 
  2. "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink 
  3. "Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World" by General Stanley McChrystal 
  4. "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable" by Patrick Lencioni 
  5. "Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High" by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler 

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"The best way to deal with a dysfunctional team is to avoid joining one in the first place."

Richard Hackman: Collaborative Intelligence
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