The Challenges of Being a Collaborative Team


LaL executive coach Carole Levy has a secret passion: capturing the foibles of leaders and teams with her unique, artistic vision. Here are her latest observations about the challenges of being a collaborative team. Watch it at your own risk!

Happy New Year and Best wishes for 2012!

  1. Tesse AKpeki says:

    Fabulous 2012 aspirations. Can’t wait for stepping out of the box strategies. Marvellous team work Carole and Shayne!

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Dear Tesse, thanks for your comment and for noticing the team effort! I’d love to hear your own strategies to step out of the box. It’s like going from “being at the mercy” to “being at the source”: we all have different words and different stories to express a similar experience but if we choose only one word or one story, it’s reducing. Keep us posted but I’ll promise to follow up with my strategies!

  2. Madeline says:

    Yes. I also think that many times people who work as a team, or least are supposed to, don’t tap into all of the creativity they could if they were more open to others.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Thanks for your comment, Madeline. I’m aware that the challenge is really around identifying when we are not open to each other (= guarded, protective) and learning to let go of our guard. It’s an entire long-life-journey to explore this survival mechanism!

  3. Claire Strauss says:

    I am looking forward to stepping out of the box. I never thought of it that way, but I guess it is a good analogy as to how things are at my job.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      I’m glad it’s an image that speaks to you! The concept of in the box- out of the box has been used by the Arbinger Institute (cf the book: Leadership and Self-deception). It’s also sort of a universal image and that’s why I used it. In our LAL jargon, we refer to it as the state of being at the mercy versus being at the source. When the methodology was created, almost 30 years ago, we were talking about “Right hand column” ‘Left hand column”… Different words to express the same idea but the image of the box is definitively the richer to use, as an illustrator!

  4. Tracy Proctor says:

    Nice Job Carole! I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense. I agree with what you say and I look forward to learning how people can tear down the boxes that are holding them back.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Thanks Tracy! Between you and me, it’s easier to illustrate a closed box than an opened box but I swear there are tools to step out of the box (see Learning as Leadership methodology and workshops) and the illustrated follow up is coming!

  5. Sheryl Diaz says:

    Imagine the things that people could get done if they weren’t trapped in those boxes. Unfortunately, I think that we don’t even realize we are in the darn things!

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Right Sheryl! The first step is to be aware: what is our box and when are we in it?

  6. Milton McCoy says:

    I’ve worked with a lot of people who limit themselves with the boxes they make. And I can only imagine the size of the box they need for themselves because of the huge ego they have! I think that part of being on a team is being honest with each other and that, hopefully, can reduce the number of boxes we create with our perceptions.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Hi Milton! You seem to have some assumptions about the size of your colleague’s ego! Me too! But… it’s a box! (smile!) Thanks for mentioning that part of being on a team is being honest with each other. This is for me the simplest and most difficult act of leadership.

  7. Trent Van Der Moere says:

    Interesting way to explain how we percieve ourselves and others. I guess there is a lot of truth in this.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Hi Trent, Thanks for taking the time to comment. My presentation is a glimpse of something I love exploring in my work: how, why we limit our potential, as human being. I’m glad that you found some truth in it for you. If you have more to share, don’t hesitate!

  8. Teresa Kay says:

    Tapping the creativity from many people is the reason why many teams are put together in the first place. While working together there should be more dynamic ideas and better efficiency when getting things done. If the members are trapped with their own perceptions of others and the role at which they have, then those boxes can become a real problem and hold the team back. Thanks, I like how you explained this.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Thanks Teresa! Your summary of my summary is very clear! I like that you introduce the word “perception”. We most of the time are in our box because of our perceptions of the reality. Which is limiting, as we all know, intellectually. It takes a conscious effort to expand my perception of others. The difficulty of being with a team is that we are constantly confronted with this effort. The beauty of being with a team is that we are given this constant opportunity to work on ourself and to open our creative channel!

  9. Alice Davis says:

    I think it’s difficult to always be a collaborative team because we, at times, don’t always want to share the glory, so to speak. We look for ways to further ourself and it’s difficult to stand out when you are part of a team.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Dear Alice, I completely agree with your comment. You are raising the tension about being part of a team, which is also for me the tension of the Ego: I sincerely want to be a collaborative team member, part of a common effort, a servant leader… and I also want to be recognized, liked, acknowledged. But often, to reassure my ego, it’s not enough to just be recognized, I need to be the “most” recognized,the Star, or the most special, the most humble! It’s an unconscious survival mechanism and if it’s not bad in itself (we all have an ego), it’s exhausting and causes lots of stress in our life. I’m personally still working on it!

  10. Arthur Lucas says:

    Honestly, I relate to this a lot! I work with a small group of what are supposed to be the best people at work. We are called the Leadership Team, but I sit in meetings and simply think about how these other people are somewhat incompetant and wasting my time! I guess I am in a box.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Hi Arthur, thanks for your comment! It’s always a little bit relieving to hear that other people are in their box too! I feel less alone and vulnerable. Plus, if I’m able to admit to myself or even better to others: “Now I’m in my box”, I open the door to the possibility of something different, including searching for what’s the real problem behind my judgments. Thanks again!

  11. jeffaustin90 says:

    I like how you explained this with the animation. Entertaining and interesting. Nicely done.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Thanks for appreciating the format. One of my passion as an executive coach is to find light and simple ways to illustrate mechanisms that are getting in our way. It’s comforting when people connect with it.

  12. The video makes it easy to visualize how our egos separate us from what we perceive as harm. I think you doe a great job by putting each character in a box that can be opened if we try. We recently wrote about a similar topic in our blog. – Erich

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Hi Erich, thanks for your comment. I had a look on your blog. Well, you don’t beat around the bush! I like how you opposed the “corny” “positive” affirmations, versus the corny “negative” affirmations that are draining our lives. If you don’t know the work we do at Learning as Leadership, it’s about supporting leaders to identify how their ego manifests and gets in the way. Are you in the leadership training field?

  13. Ian Curtin says:

    Jean Pierre shared your wonderful video with us at the Building Strong & Respectful Relationship workshop we just completed. Everyone loved the imagery and it spoke to what we had been grappling with all week. I am looking forward to the results of your early morning work periods. Wonderfully creative work!! Warmly, Ian
    p.s. I would love to post your work on our blog.

    1. Carole Levy says:

      Thanks Ian! I’m glad it spoke to you guys! (you know as an artist, encouragements are always appreciated). Yes, you can use it for your blog; let me know if you need something. It was great to have JP being back so thrilled by the experience and the work with the Inner activist team. Keep going!

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