Why We Need Less Collaboration

Collaboration

Collaboration sounds positive. It evokes an image of a group of people working earnestly together. They have one mind and no conflict. For anyone who has spent time with humans it should be obvious that that’s not how they actually work. People disagree. People wander and meander. We have different objectives. For a group of people to do anything together there needs to be some kind of structure. You need someone to lead or be in charge. If you can determine that relationship of the organisation then there is immediately a better term to define it. Are people trying to achieve some work task? Maybe they’re working together? Is there a manager then they’re not collaborating with their manager? They’re following the manager’s directions. Is it two individuals working together in a partnership? Is it an agency arrangement or contract for specific services? Whatever it is, there is a series of rights obligations duties and structures that go along with it, and there is almost always a better and more accurate term than collaboration.

Reinventing

Everyone seems to be reinventing the world. They’re reinventing law, user experience and pizzas. No one seems satisfied in making incremental improvements to what they’re doing already. To reinvent something means totally creating it anew. If you’re reinventing law does that mean that you’re abolishing all of our cases, precedents, institutions and thousands of years of knowledge? If you truly have a revolutionary invention then it will generally speak for itself. If it’s going to be so different that anyone who sees it will understand that it is a reinvention, without you needing to say that. For example moving from a common law system to a civil law system would seem to be to be a total change in the law. If you had come up with such change then that would be a reinvention. In reality reinvention is used as a mealy-mouthed marketing message of newness, but used in circumstances where there is a lack of real substance. If you’re going to reinvent something, reinvent your marketing and properly describe what you’re actually doing.

Chiefs

I was very perplexed the first time I saw a company that had all chiefs and no employees. What were they the chief of? There was a Chief Executor Officer, a Chief Financial Officer, and a Chief Technology Officer. There was only three people. Not some multinational organisation with multiple departments for which they are each the head of. This was three guys who didn’t even have an office. There is a proliferation of a veritable alphabet soup of titles, each of which imply that the person is somehow important, and doesn’t actually do any work.

Showing Support

Showing support is the catch-cry of armchair activism. It’s the idea that by changing your profile picture or signing a petition or mindlessly repeating some combination of words you are magically changing the world for the better. Yes, there are some instances where showing support might be particularly apt. In my view this is where the support is individualised. That is, if you’re providing encouragement to a small set of people who would be buoyed by that. Maybe your sporting team or your friend who is feeling down. But showing support for a cause is generally a vapid exercise in virtue signalling.

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Adrian Cartland

Adrian Cartland

Creator of Ailira, the Artificial Intelligence that automates legal information and research, and Principal of Cartland Law. www.Ailira.com www.CartlandLaw.com