I think we can safely say that most of today´s big issues are being addressed by multi-disciplinary teams. This is not new or surprising, but still we often have trouble working with diverse teams. There is always the issue of pride, human emotion, different expectations out of a project, desire to make a point, etc. The range is as wide as human nature.
One of these issues is connectedness between participants. Assume that two branches of a company are brought together for a one-off project. It sometimes happens that people just do as they are told and virtually “execute collaboration”, working together only within the suggested guidelines. It´s a bit like small children that will entertain their parents´ instructions, but with a minimum of engagement and motivation. Things get done, but perhaps at a fraction of their potential. Not only this is a waste of everyone´s energy, but also, I suspect it eats away at one´s desire to participate in this sort of activities.
This feeling of connectedness (that we assume to be missing sometimes) is the buffer we need to absorb the little annoying things that plague every relationship between people. Because in a professional setting relationships are sometimes forced (“You’re not Mr. Purple. Some guy on some other job is Mr. Purple. Your Mr. PINK”), people are less inclined to make concessions and to see things from another point of view.
What I think is that you need to look for shared values and a common ground. When people have substantially different worldviews, specialties, values and so on, what they can share resides at a higher, more abstract level. This is where Passion comes into play.
People that are passionate about something and are able to separate the feeling from the subject matter (it matters more that you are passionate, than that you are passionate about something specific) can connect more easily with other passionate people. The trick is to recognize the pattern and not the individual elements that make it up.
I believe that the higher you go in the merit scale, this more true this holds. Top performers in most areas are deeply passionate about their work and hobbies. They must be, otherwise they would not have been able to swim upstream.
People with passion respect people with passion. And that is why Passion is the bridge connecting people with apparently nothing in common. Naturally it isn´t just this simple, other things come into play, but it´s a pretty strong horse to bet on.
What does this mean when assembling teams for projects? How can you use this for creative sessions? Where else in your life do you find this to be true?