I believe that we come into this world designed to “feel” harmony in a number of different ways. We all know what it feels like when a relationship of any type is in harmony. Musically speaking, harmony is defined as an agreeable combination of sounds and whether we understand the theory behind it or not, we can all recognize the feeling we get when we hear harmony in a musical environment. The opposite of harmony is called dissonance. It is defined as a disagreeable combination of sounds and we all know those sounds as well when we hear them. Just watch some of the auditions on American Idol. It is not uncommon for those hopefuls to sing what is considered to be off key. When they fall short of singing the
correct notes it sounds terrible and can evoke a visceral reaction. Some would call those sour notes. Sour notes create dissonance. What’s amazing is that they don’t even know how bad they sound!
Collaboratively speaking, sour notes are behaviors that create dissonance which quickly can turn into destructive interference in the human dynamic. Not only do these behaviors negatively impact the collaborative process but they absolutely derail engagement. Unfortunately, like the American Idol contestants most of us don’t even realize when we are playing these collaboratively toxic notes. Our Collaborative Harmony Index (Find Your Groove℠ ) diagnostic helps identify these easy to understand yet cunningly deceptive behaviors. Here is a list of sour notes for you to ponder as you look in the collaborative mirror:
- Does not ask for input and does things alone
- Does not openly share all information with team members
- Does not share credit and glory with others
- Values good ideas, but only with respect to others perceived level of expertise
- Is not willing to compromise his/her own ideas if others come up with better ones
- Is hesitant to take ownership or admit mistakes
Self-awareness is key and chances are you might not be aware when you are actually creating sour notes and blocking collaboration. Try observing some of your band mates to see if you can identify when others are creating dissonance. Seeing behaviors in others is a great step towards realizing your own behaviors. Ask others to respectfully remind you when they hear you playing sour notes. You will be amazed by how sweet the sound can be when you don’t allow the sour notes to drown out the possibilities.