There is room for collaborative relationships in just about any aspect of business. Today, we have so many avenues for working together to solve problems that we really cannot blame the system when things go wrong.
When things go wrong it is usually because someone was unable to leave their ego at the door. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and away we go - into a spin that will gain the organization nothing, nothing at all.
Now, I am all for standing your ground, owning your position, doing what you can for what's right. Unfortunately, it all goes south when "what's right" is replaced by "what's in it for me." Ego bearers clearly don't get it and, in a word, they can be toxic.
Pick any relationship in an organization. I pick the labor-management relationship. Probably much to my union president's chagrin, I say that it is easier to be a union official than a management official. Management is responsible to make sure things are done right and the reality is that on any given day, at any given moment, there will be someone doing something wrong. Some things the union chooses to pursue and some things they don't.
How does a union official decide what to address? Well, I asked one today and do you know what he said? He said that it depends on who he trusts. Replace the labor-management relationship with your collaborative relationship of choice and the answer will be the same. Trust begets trust. When egos come to play, trust is lost.
If you really are in it to do what's right, leave your ego at the door. If not, find another game to play. You are not much fun at all.