I've seen a lot of examples of great collaboration over the years, we all have: Lennon & McCartney, Holmes & Watson, Lois & Clark (a little nod to our Kate Stone there), Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor, Gin & Tonic. The list goes on. And the basis of all those successful collaborations is that each ingredient, person or otherwise, must seamlessly and willingly complement the other.
Now, for every successful collaborative association I've ever witnessed there have been, unfortunately, almost as many absolute failures. And as I have a perverse fascination with the workplace as a petri dish for the fungi of social interaction, I thought I'd give some thought to some of those failures and what seems to be the common theme or themes behind them.
Relying on reflection as the substrate to my sociological observations I realised that I have witnessed numerous botched attempts at collaboration in the workplace all of which have, unsurprisingly, failed dismally. When I consider what the primary cause of those failures has been, the words misunderstanding and mistrust spring to mind, followed in quick succession by themes like suspicion, conspiracy and retribution. All of which ultimately result in, to varying degrees, damage. Sometimes irreparably so.