Collaboration and communication
Dave Pollard writes about how we can improve collaboration. In the article he writes about the need for a concept he calls intellectual agility, to enable effective rapid collaboration. He also makes a guess that women are inherently better at it than men.
I was working with a client this morning, and the points Dave makes are all relevant. During the visit, we discussed ongoing collaboration possibilities between our organisations in the future, as well as discussing ways we can collaborate effectively as part of the acceptance testing phase of the current project. The ability to rapidly absorb and assimilate the other people's ideas are essential to making these meetings productive and successful, as we each bring our own ideas to how we could work together.
At the heart of successful collaboration between organisations is the relationship formed between individuals. (No matter what the contract says.) And the key to all successful relationships is egoless communication. I believe we often think of communication as a one-way process - I speak and you listen. But of course that's just information transmission.
What we're seeking is that I speak and you listen and you speak and I listen, and we both understand each other, and we don't let our egos get in the way of hearing wisdom just because it's not what we would have said, or the way we would have said it. This ability to have egoless communication seems to me to be an essential bedrock to Dave's concept of intellectual agility.
We are starting to understand much more about biological differences in brain sand other bodily structures that contribute to language skills, and there have been studies which show aptitude for language and communication is more highly developed in women than men. [See this linguistics lecture from U. Penn for more details.] So if egoless communication is the key to intellectual agility, then Dave's guess that women are going to be better at it than men is probably correct.