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Create a Culture That Inspires: Collaboration

Create a Culture That Inspires: Collaboration

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 8, Episode 59
  • Learn about the benefits of collaboration in the workplace, including employee engagement and productivity, plus how CliftonStrengths and the manager can promote this.
  • Interested in learning more on this topic? Read more about how to improve teamwork in the workplace.

Dr. Rachel Maglinger, Psychologist and Senior Analyst at Gallup, was our guest on a recent Called to Coach. In Part 9 of a webcast series focusing on Creating a Culture That Inspires, Rachel discussed the importance of collaboration in the workplace, including:

  • What collaboration means and its tie-in with CliftonStrengths
  • How collaboration addresses the limitations of one person
  • The workplace benefits of collaboration, including employee engagement and productivity

Access Create a Culture That Inspires -- Part 1, and Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 10 and Part 11 of the Create a Culture That Inspires series.

Below is a full transcript of the conversation, including time stamps. Full audio and video are posted above.

"Collaboration" ... actually means "getting people to work together towards a common goal." ... what better way than to help others know how to work best together based on their strengths.

Dr. Rachel Maglinger, 1:37

The heart of collaboration is because I can't be everything to everyone else, I need partners who supplement those things that get in my way.

Dr. Rachel Maglinger, 7:06

Collaboration isn't just a love fest, where we all like each other and we're having these fun activities. And then you go and absolutely get nothing done.

Dr. Rachel Maglinger, 14:50

Jim Collison 0:01

I am Jim Collison, and live from the Gallup Studios here in Omaha, Nebraska, this is Gallup's Called to Coach, recorded on July 10, 2020.

Jim Collison 0:21

Called to Coach is a resource for those who want to help others discover and use their strengths. We have Gallup experts and independent strengths coaches share tactics, insights and strategies to help coaches maximize the talent of individuals, teams and organizations around the world. If you're listening live, on our live page, we'd love to have you join us in chat room. That link is just right above me there. Click on that; it'll take you to YouTube. Start the video again and sign into the chat room. We'll take your questions live. If it's after the fact -- maybe you're watching us on YouTube or you're listening to us as a podcast, send us an email: Don't forget, if you're on YouTube, go ahead and subscribe down there. That way you get notified whenever we go live. And if you want to listen to us as a podcast, search "Gallup Webcasts" on any podcast app. Dr. Rachel Maglinger is our host today. Rachel is a Psychologist and Senior Analyst at Gallup. Rachel, welcome back to Called to Coach!

Rachel Maglinger 1:07

Thank you. Glad to be here!

Jim Collison 1:09

Rachel, we are -- well, we're glad to have you! We have been spending some time in the previous program, we've been talking about inspiring a strengths-based culture. And we talked about communication, very, very powerful, and laid kind of a foundation for this idea of communicating in a team. And now we're going to look at this idea of collaboration. So what is it about a strengths-based culture that helps create good collaboration? And maybe what's the difference between communication and collaboration?

Rachel Maglinger 1:35

Right, so I think about the word "collaboration," right? Because I looked it up one time, because it's used so often, right? And it actually means "getting people to work together towards a common goal." That's collaboration, and what better way than to help others know how to work best together based on their strengths. So I think to define what the common objective is is so important to creating that collaboration and teamwork, right.

Rachel Maglinger 2:05

And one of my favorite exercises I kind of mentioned earlier is to talk about, "You get the best of me when," right? So you think about, "In this project, this is how I'm going to show up to be my best. This is probably not how I'm going to be my best," right? I think sometimes we shy away from those more tougher conversations. But this is when you're gonna get the worst out of me. I think that's so important to talk about when you think about, we're going to be working on this project together. I'm not very detail-oriented. I need somebody who can organize all of the process parts of this job. Being a project manager on this team is probably not my best foot forward. Right. I think it's getting people to talk about that and thinking about, you know, what do you need from me to get this teamwork and collaboration going? And this is what I can depend on you for. I think having that discussion before you even start working on something together so you can figure out sometimes just what are the goals that we're trying to accomplish?

Jim Collison 3:02

Was, so we created this, this idea of the -- of a framework around strengths and being able to communicate it. Communication by itself maybe gets us going. But this idea of collaboration gets us maybe in a spot of actually being able to get those things done, right. We're always trying to drive towards a result. When we think about some tools for an individual of maybe understanding what they're best at, it's it's maybe not always just clear in the self-awareness. Can you think about a coaching tool that we might use that might help individuals kind of dig into those themes and pull out actionable activities on their own that would help them collaborate on a team?

Rachel Maglinger 3:42

Yeah, I think one of the things is actually a tool on the Strengths 34 report, Jim, that that whole report is just a great tool, right? I guess what I look at, sometimes when you think about discussing what gets in their way, I think sometimes we're worried about only focusing on the positive during a coaching session, but that, that section around, Have you ever received negative feedback about this particular theme? Right? And I often joke because sometimes our best feedback is from our family. They -- there's, there's no filters there when, you know, when my Input is bothering my husband because I'm asking too many questions. He's just like, shuts down, right? So I think getting people to be more self-aware around what gets in their way can really be positive. Or if they've had a really formal 360 Evaluation that you've received negative feedback in that, I think that is a very important tool to help people think about, OK, this is when communication isn't going great. And then it helps them start thinking about Oh, how do I, how do I navigate that and get really good partners.

Rachel Maglinger 4:50

Or then you start as a coach helping them understand how those themes work together, right? So we've got those packets of how these themes work together and being able to look at those and say, Oh, those cards that really get into Communication or Input and helping them look at those themes. I think that's just a really powerful way to get started, and having a coach sometimes help them see those linkages of how those things work together -- like I do it just kind of automatically now after 15 years, Jim, but those, those particular cards can be really helpful.

Jim Collison 5:22

One of the forms I like to use -- if you're a listener of Called to Coach, you've heard me say this before, and you mentioned it in our notes -- is the Individual Development Plan. And that is actually a foundational form I use when we're doing team formation classes In other words, when I have college students that are forming teams for the very first time, we know that strengths can be an accelerator in that collaboration space. If they understand who they are, and then they understand who they are in the context of a team, that they can speed their process of production. They can move faster, they can do things better, their quality goes up, we know all those things.

Jim Collison 5:54

That Individual Development Plan then works with 3 -- you can do 5; it doesn't really matter. The idea is to be able to work through those, list those themes. Move down through actionable goals or actionable processes, things that we want to get better at. And, and really, in the end, be able to present those back to the team, to say, this is -- and I love this phrase, we use this all the time -- this is the best of me. In other words, when you use these things, you get the best of me.

Jim Collison 6:20

That, that idea of collaboration on a team gives us some benefits. What are those -- what are some really tangible benefits to a team collaborating well together? Or how might we know a team is collaborating well together?

Rachel Maglinger 6:35

That's a question for me? How --

Jim Collison 6:37

Yeah, what are some, what are some benefits to that, Rachel, when we think about that?

Rachel Maglinger 6:41

OK, I think that's so obvious. I'm like, well, that's kind of self-fulfilling, is they actually get stuff done, right. They're highly productive. They're highly efficient. They're accomplishing their goals. They enjoy working together. They have a social connection with each other because of those strengths because they see those powerful partnerships happening. Right. It's kind of that that Power of 2 book that we have, Jim, where you see those powerful partnerships. That's, that's the heart of collaboration is because I can't be everything to everyone else, I need partners who supplement those things that get in my way. And being able to have those trustworthy partnerships is so rewarding. So those end up being your best friends at work, right? Some of our engagement comes into that, too, because they really help you do your best.

Rachel Maglinger 7:25

So I think the output is what we know about high collaboration is if you get people working together on a common goal, you can -- it's almost like that multiplier effect. You can accomplish so much more together than as an individual, and we've seen that over and over in our research around engaged teams, right.

Jim Collison 7:42

Yeah, we've talked about -- so anecdotally, we've talked about how this creates better, how teamwork creates better production. Do we -- is there any written work that we can point individuals to on this? Do we have anything? What would you think of if folks wanted to go back and want more reading. I don't know why they'd want to; I'm a podcaster. I like to always listen to this. But if they want to go back and do some reading, what, what, what kind of areas and advice might you give them they could go back to for some of the stuff that we have?

Rachel Maglinger 8:10

Yeah, I think it goes back to when we look at a strengths-based culture. There's an article that's posted that I just read that talks about the 5 Signs of a Strengths-Based Culture, right. So it looks at, you know, it starts with the CEO. So you think about highly productive teams can really understand that, and then it evens out to every employee. And then you have, you know, evidence of a strengths-based culture is they have internal coaches, right, that are "boots on the ground," that are getting things done. And you have insight into performance management. So go back to that Boss to Coach, I think, education tool or class or whatever you want to call it -- course -- is, is a way to get them thinking about that.

Rachel Maglinger 8:56

And you also start seeing transformation in their programs around their teams and looking at how they're embedding strengths in the organization, which goes back to some of our data around productivity, right? We have a lot of research around that. And I think sometimes it's going on Gallup Access, for a lot of you do that, and typing these key words can pull up some of these articles. That's what I did yesterday, just to think about, OK, what do we have around, you know, strengths-based culture and thinking about the key to that.

Jim Collison 9:28

Yeah, we also know that 70% of the team's engagement is driven by the manager. And so the manager is a very, very important element, a very important aspect in this idea of team collaboration. When we think about tools that we have for managers, what what might we, what kind of advice might we give to managers around this idea of creating collaborative teams?

Rachel Maglinger 9:50

Yes, well, I think it's getting Jim Harter's new book, It's the Manager, right? Because it's all in there. I don't think you have to reinvent the wheel as a coach because I oftentimes, I'm sure you all get questions on What good books should I be reading as a manager? And I'm like, it's so key to that, that there's so much research. And Jim is brilliant and all the data that's around it -- I think it's why I love working for Gallup -- is we we've got these really smart senior scientists who are doing this day in and day out that can show us around engagement, even focusing on wellbeing. Jim has had some huge talks on wellbeing recently, right. And thinking about how those teams -- because right now during COVID, managers are trying to -- like I was talking to Jim earlier, everybody about this was like Groundhog Day for a lot of people. Just it's like the same thing over and over and over, and being able to get those managers to get connected with their teams to get through some of the monotony that's happening with all of us. And I think good coaches help people with their wellbeing as well.

Rachel Maglinger 10:45

So I think our wellbeing data is really good around that right now. And I think I'm looking at that It's the Manager book, you know, I think every manager should take that Boss to Coach course. I know I've talked about that a lot. But I'm just so excited about what we're going to be able to do in the state of Nebraska right now for that, so --

Jim Collison 11:05

Yeah. And if you have questions around the Boss to Coach course -- fairly new for us, send us an email: and we'll have somebody call you back with some, some details on that as well. Rachel, in the communication section, you often talked, when we, when we thought about the role of a manager in communication, we often talked about the responsibility of the -- of a manager to create open channels, and to ask, When did we communicate well? Do we -- can we ask, as we think about some final thoughts on collaboration, can we ask, can managers ask that same question to their teams and say, Tell me about some times we, we collaborated well, or tell me about some times you were on teams that collaborated well? Does that question work the same for collaboration as it does for communication?

Rachel Maglinger 11:49

I think it absolutely does, because those are so hand in hand, you know, right? Because I think about the word communication. There's lots of different ways to communicate, right? There's venue of communication. When you think about the word "communication," it's a lot of listening. But it's also speaking. And it's also thinking. It's, it's all those things wrapped up together. So I think when you have someone who's working together and collaborating, there's a lot of communication happening. When you go back to leaders and thinking about some of those key Quick Connects or a Developmental Conversation or more of a, you know, chat around what I would call, you know, a little longer than a Quick Connect. We've got a lot of research around the leaders have to stay really connected to their teams in that way. And we know that that creates, creates engagement, right? Because you think about our research around engagement is I have someone who, who cares about me and who I am and I have an opportunity to do what I do best. And if you don't communicate with your leader, they may not know what you do best, right?

Rachel Maglinger 12:53

And sometimes you don't know what you do best either. So trying to figure that out together or what the projects are that are coming down the pipe. So I think those coaching tools for leaders around how to get those conversations started, because I think sometimes you just get into work mode, right? "Here's the task, and we just need to go delegate and get it done." And that doesn't always work, right? Because you may delegate to the wrong person. So --

Jim Collison 13:15

Yeah, Rachel, you also reminded me that it's very, very key to measure the the engagement of a team because that is a sign of their collaboration, right? How well are they getting along? Are we using their are we using their strengths in their job every day? Do they have a best friend at work? I couldn't think of a better collaboration question than, Do you have a best friend at work? Right? Really, really important. And we've got tools -- again, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. We have this Q12 assessment that allows teams to kind of measure that collaboration. Rachel, as we kind of bring this in for a landing, any final thoughts on collaboration? Anything you want to add before we wrap it up?

Rachel Maglinger 13:52

Yeah, I think hitting on that last point of strengths can help facilitate conversation about what, what should be our objectives, right. Because I think sometimes when you have a lot of Activators and Achievers on the team, and I see this in the Team Grid, right, is they're off just running. Right? And they're like, but what are you go -- what are you going towards? So the Strategic people in the Strategic Thinking back, it can slow people down to say, "Let's have a really good plan." Like I used to work with a lot of engineers as a client. And I'm like, they're so busy building that sometimes they're not asking the question, does the client want this built? Is this the right way to build it? Should we be building this at all right? Is this good, profitable work for us? They really struggle with that, because they were always saying "Yes" to the client, when they sometimes should have said "No," right. It goes back to what are we trying to accomplish to drive our stock price and our investments and all of that stuff?

Rachel Maglinger 14:44

So I think strengths is really about helping us think about why is this important? And I think collaboration isn't just a love fest, Jim, where we all like, like each other and we're having these fun activities. And then you go and absolutely get nothing done. I call that kind of spa day, right? "Well, I feel good; we did these fun activities." And I guess those drive me crazy because I'm like, I have Maximizer, and I'm like, "I don't have time for this; like I, we have things we need to accomplish." And I'm not saying you shouldn't have fun together, but why can't we have fun and get things accomplished together? So have those activities mean something, right, based on our goals and thinking about how we're better collaborating. Because I think sometimes you can get things that aren't necessarily really getting us towards our goals.

Jim Collison 15:27

I love the example you use there when you talked about maybe this idea of activation versus deliberation. And then sometimes in teams, you know, the Activators are leading out ahead of like, "We gotta go; we gotta get things done." And that, that doesn't always encourage collaboration. And really that, that, that job of a manager to tell the Activators, "Hey, just relax for a second. We're gonna have plenty of things for you to activate on. Let's get some things to do it right to make it more powerful," right, and then turning them, when the time is right, turning them loose to get those jobs done.

Jim Collison 15:56

I can't think of a better kind of example around collaboration that really encourages it using those -- that framework that you talked about, to really understand how the team is built. And then to have those communication messages and to them to say, "There'll be a time; it's just not right now," or "The time is now." I always think in that Avengers movie when, you know, at the very end, the Hulk shows up, but he's in his regular form. And, and Captain America says, so he gets, he becomes Hulk, and he looks at him and he says, "Smash!" right. A, a great example of using the strengths of that superpower right to be able to go -- he just looks at him and he goes, "Hulk, smash!" And it's just an idea sometimes if we just need the right time in place for that to happen. And a manager can kind of run command and control to make sure we get that done. Any other, any other final thoughts before I wrap it?

Rachel Maglinger 16:50

Yeah, I think it goes back to when you're leading those team sessions. Right. That can be a great topic around How do we work best together and what are we trying to accomplish? What are our goals this year? Like have a lot of conversations around that. Based on our strengths, what's going to get in our way of getting our goals accomplished? You know, let's talk about, Do you know what your goals are? Right?

Rachel Maglinger 17:09

Some people have no focus at all. So they're, they're just in there doing stuff, right. And I think having that collective conversation based on our strengths, "Here's how we're going to get these things accomplished." Sometimes you have to start with Step 1 is What are our goals? And strengths conversations, I just see that as the foundation for everything, because that really helps them clarify what they're trying to do as a team. And then you get into What's getting in the way of our goals this year? Because sometimes you get a team in the middle, right, where they're really stuck. And you can kind of unlock that team-session conversation around, What are some of the things that are going to help us get out of the mud a little bit, based on our strengths? Or maybe there's a particular individual on the team that can really help them focus or get back on track or set the goals and the measurement.

Jim Collison 17:52

Yeah, yeah, no, some great advice, I think, as we work through this. There's plenty more of this. We'll remind individuals, we've got lots of great information and lots of great resources for you available on Just head out to; actually use that Search that's up there. It actually works really well. Donna had asked earlier, Where do I get more information on this Quick Connect? We've actually done a bunch of writing. And we did a whole webcast series on the 5 Coaching Conversations. Just go to and search "Quick Connect"; I bet it will land in that search for you. Donna, we'll talk a little bit about it in the postshow as well. If you have any questions, you can always send us an email: Don't forget, if you want to join us live -- and really the best opportunity to learn is live -- we'd love to have you come out. Go to Create an account, register there, follow us, and I'll send you an email every time we post something new. If you want to join us on our Facebook group, it's just If you want to join us on LinkedIn, just search "CliftonStrengths Trained Coaches" and you'll find our group and I'll let you in there. I want to thank you for joining us today. If you're listening live, stay around for a little bit of a postshow. If you're listening to the recorded version, I bet we have more for you. With that, we'll say, Goodbye, everybody.

Dr. Rachel Maglinger's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Individualization, Maximizer, Strategic, Input and Relator.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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