I am not invested in conceptual collaboration as much as I am not invested in conceptual leadership, because in both we are given a set definition that we can either agree or disagree, and such definition does not serve to make us personally that much more collaborative or even improve our own leadership practice. It does make us better at citing a model of collaboration or look backwards into some guru's view of collaboration and leadership, and be content with gurudom or more to the point seek to kneel at this alter with maybe a secret aspiration to become the next social media guru. I get it, we have a book circuit and that is how the profits are made for the few on the top.
There is good thinking in the world of people who think about collaboration and then there are platitudes. How can a single author who writes about collaboration actually serve to teach people like me "collaboration"? For a start, it is a single author and the best way to know what collaboration is collaboration - so the author is the bibliography a.k.a. so many names that it should look like a war memorial, except the names on a collaborative wall are living people contributing and advancing together. How cost effective is to have people at the top of a pyramid rather than learning?
Another pitfall of conceptual collaboration is how it can become platitudes of some "masters" voice. Platitudes are easy to promote and resend out into the world. If quotes on collaboration and leadership really could have made a difference in the world, surely we would have seen that much faster than we saw the rise of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and BeBee. Yet when I look at the content of books about collaboration, they are often marketers sitting on the alter of their personal brand, preaching to the world how we as collaborative people need to find people like our newly minted personas. Would you like some more influencers with your tea?
The focus of these books is on who is not collaborative or in leadership books, who practices poor leadership. Such books are not about innovative collaboration, they are tying words like collaboration as short-term thinkers tie words like personal brand to the chorus of Success Meisters. Where farmers in ancient times developed superstitions about volcanoes and then offered human beings in ritual sacrifice, modern day corporate witchcraft have superstitions about success and offer human beings leadership books and books about collaboration.
This is often preached in the tone of a parent talking to a child. The deference, the sycophantic behaviour, the group-think etc etc are all indicative of our tribal past. Conceptual views of collaboration and leadership can be very detailed, but through personal brand, they mint money for either quick buck artists or self