GCM 57 | Workplace Collaboration


The success of a team greatly depends on how the leader is able to get the members to collaborate with each other. So how do we create collaboration in the workplace where there’s a drive to grow with the organization? Charmaine Hammond provides the answers to this. Charmaine is a highly sought out business keynote and workshop speaker, entrepreneur, author and educator who teaches an advocates the importance of developing trust, healthy relationships, and collaboration in the workspace. In this episode, she shares the things we can do in order to increase workplace collaboration in teams and in organizations to achieve high performance.

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Workplace Collaboration: Developing Healthy Relationships And High Performance with Charmaine Hammond

I want to let you guys know that I’m changing up my brand a little bit. I’m going to be targeting more corporate athletes, corporate champions. People in the corporate workspace that are on it. That is trying to make it happen, climbing the corporate ladder and they want to experience success in that arena. I believe that being an athlete, some of the same mentality that you would have out there on the field and on the court, that’s the type of mentality you’re going to need in the corporate arena in order to become a corporate champion. I’m excited about the message because I have someone in the audience with me who is an expert in effective collaboration.

You all know that when it comes to building teams, working together, collaboration is key. A lot of times we don’t focus on collaboration. We’re focusing on the agenda, getting things done, but not actually focusing on how we can collaborate more effectively. According to a survey by Salesforce, 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication for workplace failures. That is huge. In a fast-paced environment where everyone is pushing for their agenda of the day, effective collaboration can get lost. It’s resulted in delayed projects, unhappy stakeholders and lots of wasted time. For you entrepreneurs out there, this is also important to you because collaboration can help you and allow you to make a larger impact in the world. That’s what we’re all about.

I have Charmaine Hammond with me. She’s a highly sought out business keynote and workshop speaker, entrepreneur, author and educator who teaches and advocates the importance of developing trust, healthy relationships, and collaboration in the workspace. She has helped clients in many industries build resilient and engaged workplaces, develop high trust, high accountability, relationships, and solve workplace issues that get in the way of success and profitability. She is respected as a “no fluff” and “rich content” speaker who delivers tangible tools to step into action immediately. Welcome to the show, Charmaine.

Thank you. I am so excited about this because it’s an important one in business and for entrepreneurs.

I’m glad that you’re here. I’m truly excited about this because I realized that this is something that needs to be talked about in the workspace. It’s often avoided for whatever reason. Before we dive into this, how did you get started in educating and speaking about effective collaboration?

It all began in my first career, which was actually behind bars. I was a correctional officer in the jail system for several years working with adults and then young offenders. That is not a collaborative team environment in the jail system, at least not when I was there in the ‘80s and where we collaborated was on the point of being safe. Keeping inmates safe and keeping one another as staff safe. I thought when I left that system and moved over working with young offenders, I took what worked about that collaboration and I left behind what didn’t work. I started as a leader to start looking at how do we build our teams to be collaborative. Where there’s not a sense of competition, there’s a drive to grow with the organization but not a competition and how do we create collaboration in the workplace?

GCM 57 | Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration: There’s this expectation or belief that people should just know how to collaborate; that isn’t true.


We reduce conflict, we reduce drama and we build healthy, trusting working relationships. Fast forward when I left that career, I went back to school and got trained and certified as a mediator. That whole process of mediating is based on interest-based collaboration. I did that for a number of years and that’s how that whole journey got started. To be honest with you, it jazzes me when I see people with different skill sets, different expectations. Different experiences come together for a common goal and a purpose. The results that they create couldn’t have been done to that degree of excellence in any other way but collaboration. That’s exciting to witness and be a part of.

It’s an amazing challenge at the same time. I think that’s what we all look for as leaders, as CEOs, as head of companies and departments. We want consistent high performing teams, high productivity from those people. That’s what we focus on. What are some things you think we can do in order to increase the collaboration in teams and in organizations in order to achieve high performance?

A lot of times when I work with leaders as a consultant or speaker, there’s this expectation or a belief that people should just know how to collaborate. That isn’t true. Not everyone has played on team sports. I’m an example of that. As a child, I was extremely shy and avoided team anything at all costs and I was the last to get picked. Remember the days of picking the teams and you sat on the bench? I was always the last because I was shy and I sucked at sports. I had to learn how to collaborate, how to include myself in a group. The leaders I talked to, there’s often an expectation or belief system, you could say a mindset, that people come with that skill naturally and that isn’t true.

Some people are born with more and maintain and hold more of a competitive. Even if it’s a competition against self, a competitive drive and other people are natural team players. Other people become team players and collaborators through training. That’s one thing that I think organizations can spend time, energy and resources on is helping their staff, their whole employee base learn what collaboration is. How to do that in the workplace, understand the benefits of collaboration for them as an employee and also for the company and the clients it serves. In addition to training, the other thing that I love to see, some of my corporate clients are seeking ways to create collaborative projects in the workplace. For example, I had one client who was giving staff assignments out and there was one of them that walked away with a project or to-do list after a staff meeting.

His response as a leader was let’s always have a minimum of two people on every project. First of all, if someone gets sick or can’t come into work, the project doesn’t stall. Second, this is a great idea to job shadow with each other and learn more about each other as team members. Every time that there were a takeaway and action, he turned that into a collaborative project instead of one person working on it. Some of you might be thinking that could result in extra time or money. I think at the end of the day, it actually saves time and money because you’ve got two people learning vital skills from each other. You’ve got two people moving the project faster than it could go if the two people sharing the tasks, or four people or how many people are on there. You’ve also built that capacity so that if one of those people leaves the organization or is off on sick leave or something, that knowledge is still retained in the company. That’s important. It’s a great way of planning for succession as well.

I also think culture is an issue in corporations. I know a lot of corporations have changed the structure and have a lot of teams and things that are certain platforms or products. It’s very team-oriented, but yet there’s still this sense of competition. I believe that it’s fostered around when promotions or things like that come out. Those are not team promotions, those are individual promotions. You’re still competing with your fellow teammates for that position. What I find is because of that, there’s some times information that’s not shared. There are limits to the collaboration. When there are limits to the collaboration, there’s only so far you can go. What is your response to that? How do we tackle that?

Some people are born competitive. Other people are natural team players. Share on X

You raise such a vital statement there because you’ve talked about the importance of communication. I would say as a mediator, I actually used to facilitate the rebuilding of collaborations that went sideways. I got to see what not to do a lot. I would say out of 100% of those kinds of cases that I mediated, the number one issue or failing was communication. People either withheld information, which is very dangerous in the workplace, and it just erodes trust. The other thing was that people didn’t communicate clearly. They were communicating, but it wasn’t clearly understood. There was miscommunication that would happen. I believe that for collaboration to work well in the workplace, we’ve also got to make sure that our workforce is well trained in communication, giving and receiving feedback and how to resolve conflict. All of those come up in collaboration.

We can all think of a time that we sat on a board or a committee. It might be for a volunteer job, it might’ve been for your kid’s soccer team, it might’ve been in the workplace. We will have those moments of people with different agendas than perhaps the big group maintains. You have people who want to push their agenda forward strongly. Other people who feel like they didn’t have the opportunity to contribute. If people don’t have communication skills to effectively stop the dialogue and say, “Hang on a second. I’ve got something I want to contribute,” or “I’m not quite sure I understand your statement,” or “Where are you going with that?” These probing questions that actually further the collaboration instead of building resentment and break down and a good collaboration, people are leaving the table, which is awful when that happens.

I think we can do more to increase communication as well. I feel that those are good ideas. Some companies are good at that, and sometimes it comes down to the actual individual. I’m going to go back to culture because sometimes those agendas that you were talking about are driven by the culture. The fact that I don’t want to compete with this person. If I have this information and I don’t share it, that’s going to give me a competitive edge. I do agree with you. Communication needs to be addressed, but then at a higher level. I’m talking to the executive here. At that level, there’s something that needs to come down in order to foster or increase communication. What are your thoughts on that? Have you seen that when you’ve gone and trained an organization? Has that been a problem or a challenge that they’ve been facing?

I hear that a lot and I see it a lot in groups and companies that I work with where they may invest a lot of training on frontline staff. Here you have all the frontline staff who are well equipped to handle conflict feedback, collaboration, and you have the leadership team who hasn’t participated in that training for several years. What happens is there’s an immediate breakdown because what people are being taught is not how they’re being led. You talked about culture. That creates a lot of culture confusion. The other thing that happens is you have two sets of language going on. I’ll give you a great example. I was watching a video. I was scrolling through Facebook one day and there was a video about leadership, and being the leader and creating the employees that you want to maintain on your employee list for life. That was the message.

In the matter of one minute, I started counting the number of times that this leader said, “I want you to.” It was very I-driven language instead of we. What happened is my brain actually went to counting the “I want you to” statement and I don’t even work for that team. I was just watching a video on Facebook, but it hit me and my brain went to counting it. I wasn’t even focusing on the message as much as I was on that one statement. There was a real gap between I believe what he was trying to say and what was coming out. Below the video where there’s the description of the video, it was talking about working together as a team and together we can do more, yet every statement was, “I want you to work as a team. I want you to see the value of the team.” Instead of something like, “Imagine a team where we all do this.” It’s a “we” statement. I think when you talk about culture, what happens is that if it’s not a consistent training and we don’t spend time as a team, as a group, as a company talking about our values and what that looks like in action, we end up with communication breakdowns. We also end up with two sets of language going on in the business. It’s very challenging. If you think about it from a customer base, it’s also confusing.

That video that you were talking about just describes not having complete buy-in to whatever the agenda is. This happens a lot with leaders. They set an objective, but then they removed themselves from the objective as if this is what you guys do and I’m separate from that. That’s the optics. Maybe this person isn’t invested and they’re a part of it, but it doesn’t appear that they’re a part of. It appears that I’m the sheep, you’re the shepherd and I do what you say. Instead of us being together as a team, we’re all in this together. I have ownership but you don’t. There’s no responsibility on your end, however, report back to me on how things are going. I feel a lot of employees feel that in their work every single day. I feel sometimes there are agendas that are passed down and there’s not complete buy-in. The time hasn’t been spent to get complete buy-in. When you don’t have complete buy-in, I don’t think you’re going to have the same level of commitment and dedication to that agenda. Whatever your objective is going to suffer because you don’t have buy-in. You’re not going to get the collaboration that you desire because there’s no buy-in. How do we gain that level of 100% buy-in?

GCM 57 | Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration: It is so important to be cognizant and careful about how you check for agreements.


I love the conversation of buy-in. What I have seen when I’ve gone to meetings before. Not as the speaker and facilitator, but when I’ve been attending a meeting and the facilitator or the chair might say, “Is everyone good?” Looks around the table, but nobody has said, “Yes, I agree. I can live with this. I’m behind it.” There were just these faces that smile. “I’ll take that as we’re all in agreement.” The problem with that is I can guarantee you someone probably has an issue with it and they are not in agreement, and you have what’s called the meeting outside the meeting. Either people haven’t agreed, but the host thinks they have agreed or they might’ve done a table check. Everyone agreed. “Are you good?” There’s no opportunity for people to confirm that themselves. What happens is the leader or the host thinks, “Everyone’s behind this. That was easy,” and then goes back to his or her office.

What’s happening is these little breakoff meetings. People are going to offices and gathering in groups and complaining about what an awful decision that was or no way am I going to support that. They’ve eroded the decision that was made. They come back to the next meeting or as they go about their daily work now as a fragmented team. Whereas the leader is thinking, “We’re all in this together. We’ve got an agreement.” It is so important to be cognizant and careful about how you check for agreements. When I used to facilitate processes where I was bringing people to collaborate, and we were developing terms of reference and things like that in their workplace or a team. I would actually have two or three team members, not myself, summarize for the group what they understand the next steps to be and what they understand the commitment to be. That way it’s getting them to voice in their words what they hear the next steps or the decision or the outcome is.

What we do is a detailed check. I don’t just go around the table and say, “Are you all good with this?” I say, “Let’s take a few minutes. You’ve worked hard getting to this point and let’s talk about A, what’s going to make this successful? B, how we’ll handle something that goes sideways? C, what our commitment to this is? I would have each person go around and they’d say, “I’m behind this. I can live with this. I support this. I’m mostly okay with it, and here’s my contribution to make it work.” That is now the whole team including the leader. This is where leaders sometimes make a mistake. They get the whole team to share how they’re going to commit and what their contribution is, but they don’t say it. It’s critical for leaders to inject themselves into that conversation. As a team member also say, “Here’s what I’m going to do as a team member to contribute to this agreement.” That is such a powerful exercise. I actually have people write that down, and I have them put it in an envelope and 30 days later, I have them bring that up at a staff meeting. You talk about accountability as a contribution because people don’t want to be that person that says, “I can’t remember what I wrote down,” or “I can’t remember what I committed to.” It also gives people the opportunity to walk away and hold themselves and other people accountable for the collaboration.

During that exercise, do you also give people the opportunity to disagree with the agenda?

Yes, that’s when I say, “We’ve had lots of discussion to this point. We’ve dealt with a lot of questions, some disagreements, and challenges. Here’s how we understand the next step to be or the moving forward plan. This is the time if something is not landing well, if you’ve got confusion, if you’re worried about it not working for some reason or you’re in disagreement for any reason, let’s talk about this now.”

I feel some people, employees feel that they don’t have a voice. Some leaders say, “Is everyone good with this?” They don’t hear anything. It’s crickets and everyone is all good. That could also mean that there’s a culture where your people are not feeling safe to disagree. That takes me back to the culture. Before we start passing down these agendas, I want to make sure we were in a space where people can speak freely about those things and share what they feel. At the end of the day, an agenda is going to get passed. It’s allowing people to be treated like human beings. I feel like when you can allow people to be treated like human beings, that’s when you can foster more effective collaboration because I feel safe. I’m open to collaborating.

When what people are being taught is not how they're being led, that creates a lot of culture confusion. Share on X

If you think about it, disagreement is not opposition. Disagreement doesn’t mean that somebody is not going to buy-in or they’re going to oppose it, resist it and be awful to work with. The disagreement might be, “I don’t quite fully understand this,” and once I get all the information, it’s like, “Now I get it. Yes, I can live with that.” The disagreement might be, “This is clashing with my personal values so I have to figure out a way to make this work,” or “I don’t like this but I’m behind the team and I’ll figure out a way to work with that.” Sometimes disagreement is, “I have a real problem with this and I need to talk to you about this outside the meeting because I can’t subscribe to what’s being proposed here and I don’t know how to resolve that.”

Often the conversation that happens with the team in those moments if the person facilitating or that leader provides the safety for an open, vulnerable conversation, the team will often self-manage because they’ll say, “What are you worried about? What are you afraid of?” When the team asks those questions, the team also is at the same level perhaps as that employee and can understand their perspective from a different angle. Sometimes they can say, “That’s not going to happen and here’s why.” Often there’s an opportunity for the team to self-regulate and self-manage those challenges or frame it in a different way so the leader hears it differently.

I love this because what you’re talking about is creating an environment for effective collaboration. That’s what this is outside of what we’ve already talked about. What are some other things that we can do to create an environment to have effective collaboration?

I think we can build champions. In workplaces what’s so helpful, this is often missed, is to find those people who are the champions. They’re excited about this collaboration or this change or this new policy. Anything that’s going on in the workplace to find those champions. There’s also huge value working with the people who have the issues. They might be in disagreement or resisting because I’ve seen so many times where they become the best ambassador for that team in the company. I’ll give you an example. I was doing mediation with a government department. It was a municipal works department and there were a lot of team issues and systemic issues. There was a lot going on. We had to do some mediation individually. Brought the group together and there were two people that were just so excited and ready for change, and there were two people that were going to disagree with anything that got proposed.

They were just so angry and had a long history of feeling that they were treated unfairly in the workplace. There was a bit of bitterness and resentment that had worked up and they were feeling they were close to retirement, so why bother? That was their mindset. We were implementing a teen charter with this group around how they work better together. The team worked very hard as a group. It was tough work for them. The leader was wonderful to work with. She was totally engaged and they built this team charter of the agreements that they created together around how they’re going to work together, how they’re going to have respect in the workplace, how they’re going to support decisions that they make, how they’re going to resolve conflict. All that was addressed. In the end, one of them was still arms crossed, stern looking and shaking his head.

In my head honestly, I said, “Tell me what’s going on?” He said, “It’s not going to work.” I said, “Tell me what makes you think it’s not going to work?” We went on an exploratory conversation. I said, “If you were the person to be able to decide how to make this work, what would you say that would be? What would that look like?” He came up with the best solutions, but nobody could ever hear it because he was angry and difficult to work with. Everybody quite frankly just tuned him out. He wasn’t well spoken. Sometimes what he said was so important, but how he said it made it hard to hear. I was working with him and I said, “I don’t think that people understand you the way you want to be understood. Let’s try it again.”

GCM 57 | Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration: Sometimes what we say may be important, but how we say it makes it hard to hear.


We kept trying to him and he was finally able to share the feedback in a way that wasn’t offensive or hurtful. It was respectful. Two women in that group started to cry. She said, “I am so moved. We’ve worked together.” It was many years this team most of them had worked together. Her tears were her pain of how much she had just set off. She had written him off long ago as a team member. At that moment, she saw him very differently. It created a shift in the culture immediately. I said, “We need a team of four people and one of the leaders to be the champion to drive this team charter forward.” He put his hand up and one of the team members says, “This is the first time in many years that he has put his hand up and no one rolled their eyeballs.”

It was so moving for the team to see that one of the people that most of them had difficulty with changed how he presented his feedback so people could hear him. His solutions honestly were bang on. They were exactly what the team needed, but nobody could hear it. I went back in a year later and he had worked himself up to a leadership position and people respected him. When I walked in and he greeted me, came up and shook my hand, I thought, “The first time I met you, you had your feet on your desk. I said excuse me and you just sat there with your feet on the desk and didn’t let me through.” I thought what a change in this human being. Part of me felt many years, all that was inside this man that didn’t get to come out. It was a very big growing experience for him. What it taught the team as they had made a lot of unfair judgments and assumptions about this person. He hadn’t given people a chance because he would speak in anger, he would speak in blame and he would speak in judgment, so nobody wants to hear that. He realized that he had also created many of his own problems. There are opportunities for teams and people to transform. Think about how this guy’s life is probably better. His personal relationships are probably much healthier.

I’ll be thinking that this created an avenue for him that didn’t exist at some point in time.

His last few years of work are probably going to be much happier for him and everyone else around him.

How does collaboration allow teams to be more resilient?

One of the things that I would say to that around collaboration, helping teams be resilient is that when we’re working together collaboratively, we tend to be more mindful or we’re more observant. We notice if people are appearing stressed out or if people seem to have too much on their workload. They’ve got too much on their plate or we might pick up those innuendos that somebody needs help. I think part of how resilience gets met through collaboration is that we’re just more present. We’re more observant. The other piece is when there’s an atmosphere of collaboration and you’ve got people working towards collaboration, it tends to help some of those small irritations get worked through.

Disagreement is not necessarily opposition. Share on X

Where something got said at a staff meeting and somebody felt offended, but nobody goes and talks about it. There’s no feedback, but the person goes and complains to ten other people, now it’s a big team issue. Those little things happen all the time, all day long. Those little irritations and problems are happening. In a team of collaboration, people just seem to bring it forward quicker. They’re committed to that because what happens is when all those irritations are happening under the surface, it disrupts that feeling of peace and harmony in the workplace. When people get used to that, the majority of people like working in that workplace. It allows them to thrive. I think issues that would have been left behind and not resolved get managed better when there’s a collaborative workspace.

I think the other thing is that when there’s collaboration going on in the workplace in a powerful way, people seem to be committed to personal and professional development. They’re more willing to grow their skills, to take a risk to learn something new because there’s that safety factor that’s been built in. That adds to a resilient company because you’ve got people who are constantly growing as individuals, not just as professionals. When life’s tough challenge happens to them at home or at work, they’re better prepared and they’ve got the support of the team behind them who actually care and who want to be a supportive factor to them.

What do you think some of the organizations need to be thinking about as our demographic shifts, more Millennials are coming into the workspace and things like that? What are some things companies should be doing as a result of that?

That’s one of the biggest challenges I see in the workplaces. I’ve heard it called the generation gaps, the different generations. However you explain it, there are differences in work ethics and the ways that people work. Part of what is valuable for companies is to look at team building. I love the example you gave when you were comparing this to sports and coaching around building that team. I think that needs to happen in the workplace as well because that will help eliminate a lot of assumptions and a lot of judgments that are going on. The other thing is this is a big issue. A lot of workplaces inadvertently set people up to fail with promotions. I’ll tell you what I mean by that.

A lot of times when companies promote people to leadership positions, they may not be promoted because the person is ready, skilled and able. They may be promoted because someone needs to be filling that chair or, “You’ve been here a few years. It’s time to get promoted.” Even if that person didn’t want that or isn’t feeling personally or professionally ready. I believe that if we can support people who are being promoted especially when they’re going from being on the team to now leading that team that they were a team member of, that’s the toughest transition to make as a leader. We call it going from being one of the guys to leading the guys. That’s what they call it in some of the oil and gas industry that I work in, which it’s very male-dominated in the departments I’ve worked in.

They’ve had those situations where they’ve had to promote people because somebody had to be in charge of that team. The people that were being promoted didn’t want the promotion, didn’t feel ready, and then years later, they are now dealing with harassment cases and conflicts and all kinds of problems. When we promote people, check if this is in line with their career path. Spend time getting to know employees. Map out what their goals are. If their goal is not to be a leader, don’t be taking them there. That isn’t everybody’s dream to lead. Look at also helping them transition. When you take someone who’s been on a team and they’re now going to be leading the very team they were on, make sure you help that team transition because that new leader is going to face huge issues around loyalty. When he or she makes a decision that everybody loves, it’s like, “You’re the best leader.” When that leader has to make a decision that isn’t popular, the team that used to be their colleagues say, “You wouldn’t have done that when you were one of us.” It’s such a hard transition and I love seeing organizations that spend time helping that new leader or supervisor work through all of that because it will help them grow as a leader.

GCM 57 | Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration: Organizations that spend time helping a new leader or supervisor work through all the things will help them grow as a leader.


I’ve been through a lot of leadership training courses and development work. That particular thing you mentioned is not one of the things that are covered. It’s a soft skill. You have to understand the dynamics and how to work through all the dynamics and things like that. I think it can be learned and it is a part of a collaboration. These are some of the things that we need to implement in training and not just for leaders. These types of dynamic can happen from team to team. You may move or transition to another team throughout your career. It is being able to deal with different people, different values that people have and backgrounds, and the dynamics that come with being on teams. That’s something that we need to look at and as corporations for our people as part of the training.

I couldn’t agree with you more. Sometimes with the generations, there are a lot of assumptions that get made. The best example, this was so powerful for me to witness that I love sharing this story. I was facilitating a team building and training session for our company and they had amalgamated two teams. One team was very young. They were out of college and university. This was their first career job. They are excited, they’re raring to go. Some of them are still on probation, they’re that new. The team they amalgamated with was largely comprised of very senior staff. Many of them who had previously also held supervisory type positions in some of their other roles or in their other jobs. You’ve got these two very different groups.

While I was facilitating one of the new hires, I think she’d been there a few months. She was still on probation. She was on her cell phone. We had an agreement as a team that cell phones would be off just so that people could focus for the two hours we had together. She was typing on her cell phone and I could see one of the seasoned staff across the table becoming irritated and communicating none verbally every time the young gal types something on her phone. It was that obvious. It was disrupting the group. I checked in with her, I said, “Tell me what’s going on?” She said, “I can’t believe it. Here we are in the most important team meeting of her life.” She points to the younger staff person. She said, “She’s YouTubing and Twittering.”

She didn’t know what Twitter was. She’s probably Facebooking and we’re in a meeting and I said, “What would make you say that?” I knew she wasn’t YouTubing or Twittering because I could see the cell phone. What she was doing was actually typing up all of the notes for the group so that nobody had worked when they left the meeting. I could see she was doing that and because she was in a Google file type Google document. You’ve made an assumption that someone is Twittering, YouTubing and Facebooking. Where does that assumption come from? It came from the fact that her granddaughter happened to be about the same age and that’s all she does on her cell phone.

She had made a very inaccurate and very hurtful assumption. Fortunately, the staff person that she was complaining about handled it well and she just listened to her colleague and she said, “I’m sorry you feel that way and I probably should have said something to the team about what I was doing on my cell phone. I actually regret that. I’m sorry. What I was doing is I was taking all the notes so that we don’t have to wait for Charmaine to leave here. Type up the notes, send them. We have to go through them. I’ve typed all the notes. I press send, it’s all in your inbox right now. I’ve assigned the actions to people based on who said who was going to do what and it’s all there. We don’t have to take our own notes.” It was a gross misinterpretation based on someone’s viewpoint of what being on a cell phone is. When they were able to clarify that it was very transformative in the team, but it was a very uncomfortable conversation for those two people. It was great for the team to be able to work through that. I was grateful to both of them that they were willing to be vulnerable at that moment, and have a difficult conversation to resolve that issue because it helped the team move forward.

If I could take this a little bit further with your permission, I feel that we talked about the demographic shift and the Millennials coming into the workspace. I feel that there’s a traditional expectation about the uses of cell phones and things like that. I think that has to change. It’s changing and it’s a painful change for some people. I feel that the way things are done like note taking, for example, it’s changing. They’re Millennials. They’re coming in and they have these ideas that people before us maybe they weren’t as efficient. They want to stick with the old way because the old we have been working for so long and this is how we do it, but that can hinder growth. That can hinder team effectiveness. It can hinder collaboration. There has to be a level of openness to the changes in how things have being done and the use of technology. It comes with a downside. There are Facebook and the social aspects of all the media and many other things. We can’t focus on that. We have to focus on what’s working, what’s allowing things to happen in a more efficient manner for the sake of the team.

There are differences in work ethics and the ways that people work. Share on X

I love that you’ve brought that up because those are important decisions and processes that companies are wrestling with and having to change some expectations that don’t work. I remember sitting at a conference. I was an attendee, not the speaker at that one. I was writing my notes and I had finished my note paper. I was writing on an app and that the young lady beside me nodded at me and she said, “Why don’t you type it up in an email and send it to yourself?” I thought, “Isn’t that just brilliant?”

I do it all the time.

From that day forward, I started taking my notes on my phone and emailing myself. I thought, “Genius,” because she said, “I can’t even read what you’ve written because my writing is terrible. You’re going to have to decipher the notes and then type them up or do whatever you do with them. This way, you’ve got them all the time.”

I have a physical challenge. To grab a notebook and a pen and walk to a meeting, it’s challenging for me because I walk with crutches. I feel my cell phone in my pocket, and then I get to my meeting and I pull my cell phone out, I go to that Google doc that you were talking about or I go to a note application on my phone and I start taking notes, and it works. There may be other ways of getting things done that may not be consistent with the way things have been done, but managers, leaders, we have to be open to those things. This has been a great conversation. I’m loving where things are going. If they wanted to reach out to you and learn more about you? How can they get in contact?

The best way to get ahold of me is either CharmaineHammond.com or the other website is RaiseADream.com. Both of those are my platforms where we talk about collaboration in the workplace and in the entrepreneurial world.

What would you say is the one thing that corporations should focus on in order to gain effective collaboration?

GCM 57 | Workplace Collaboration

Workplace Collaboration: When you facilitate a conversation about collaboration, you actually give people the opportunity to create that collaborative workspace together.


The one thing that they can do, and this is all trainable, every team can do this and it doesn’t take a lot of money or time, is to actually at a team meeting facilitate a conversation about collaboration. Get people talking about what does a collaborative workspace look like, feel like. How do we contribute to it? What are our norms and values around collaboration? If you facilitate that meeting, you give people the opportunity to create that collaborative workspace together. I think that’s powerful and also helps you identify your staff. Your team will let you know what training they feel they’re short on and that will help you identify the training that’s needed for people to be even more effective as they work together in partnership and collaboration instead of on their own.

That’s brilliant because maybe there was a leader that’s reading this. He’s thinking, “How am I going to foster collaboration into my team or my organization?” To start that conversation, there lies the answer. The team can actually tell you what’s missing, what needs to be done differently and what’s working. The feedback is in the conversations. I think that’s just a great idea to kick off the collaboration in your organization.

I love the question you just said, “How do I foster collaboration in my team?” Can you imagine a leader coming into a staff meeting and say, “Here’s the question I want to wrestle with as a team. How do I as a leader get collaboration going in our team?” We’re using that I-message because it’s that goal of the leader, but in our team and you’re right, people give you the answers and then the conversation changes at the end. This is how we build collaboration on our team, and you take it from an I-message to we-message. I think if I were a staff person on a team, I would be empowered by my leader asking us that question. What does it look like to all of you? What a great opportunity to help create it instead of having to buy into something that’s already been decided.

I’m going to coin that. That’s the game-changing message. We’ve had this wonderful conversation about collaboration and I feel like people can still walk away before we just said what we said, scratching their heads. How do I actually implement this? I think the game changer is not trying to do it alone. Collaboration is a team effort and as a leader, your job is to initiate that collaboration and it starts with one question. How can I foster collaboration within this team? Open up the conversation. That is brilliant. Any final words for the audience? This has been amazing.

I always say to people be gentle with yourself. Realize that collaboration can be messy. It can be bumpy. It isn’t perfect. You don’t want it to be perfect. Allow yourself and your team the opportunity to experience growing pains and changing pains and know that they’ll come through. It’s okay if you create that collaborative environment.

This has been wonderful. Charmaine, thank you for joining us. You have been awesome and wonderful.

Rodney, thank you so much.

There you have it. Another game-changing message on the Game Changer Mentality podcast. Thank you, guys. Take care.

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About Charmaine Hammond

GCM 57 | Workplace CollaborationCharmaine Hammond is a highly sought-after business keynote and workshop speaker, entrepreneur, author and educator who teaches and advocates the importance of developing trust, healthy relationships, and collaboration in the workplace. She has helped clients in many industries build resilient and engaged workplaces, develop high trust/high accountability relationships, and solve workplace issues that get in the way of success and profitability. She is respected as a “no fluff” and “rich content” speaker who delivers tangible tools to step into action immediately.

This former Correctional Officer (yup! She worked in jails) and Corporate Dispute Resolution Expert now travels the world teaching the principles of collaboration, communication/conflict resolution, and resilience. She also has an extensive background facilitating process to help collaborations when they go sideways. As a former mediator, she has helped facilitate some of the most complex collaborations and partnership arrangements.

Her corporate clients have included all 3 levels of government, oil and gas sector, trade associations (health, nursing, engineering, safety, and more), human resources, community partnership departments, educational institutions, police/fire and rescue, non-profit organizations and everything in between. She has presented to more than 300,000 people worldwide. Her extensive background in the corporate, small business and non-profit worlds, her past role as a contract negotiation specialist for government, and a business owner, she has an interesting perspective of being on all sides of the collaboration table. She has owned several businesses over the past 21 years.

She has a Master’s Degree in Conflict Management & Analysis is a bestselling author (of 5 books & featured in 6 others), and CSP™ Certified Speaking Professional. Charmaine has been featured in renowned publications such as Inc., Occupational Health & Safety Magazine, and many others, as well as having appeared as a guest on numerous TV and Radio Programs.

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