Seems like there's been a rally cry against collaboration recently. Critics claim that solitude sparks creativity more than collaboration. Author Susan Cain in a recent NY Times article even has gone so far as to give collaboration a dirty name — the New Groupthink.
So it was refreshing to come across this video the other day of Mark Zuckerberg in the early days of Facebook, speaking about how ideas get sparked by having people hang out with each other:
It's interesting to hear Zuck equate casual conversation with entrepreneurial success. What he's talking about here is how listening to your teammates builds trust, encourages collaboration, and sparks ideas. What really caught our eye is when he says:
So instead of having 20% of people's time spent on their own projects, I make people hang out with each other. I mean, I don't make people be friends with each other but I mean, you know. So I think that by doing that, I can't force you to hang outside of work, but I can make it so that people are more comfortable with each other and can communicate more freely.
Great things happen when team members listen and talk to one another. But it only works if they invest in each other and their ideas even when they don't always see eye-to-eye. Sometimes that starts by simply hanging out around the kitchen table in the office.