Having just blogged about collaboration, the time felt right to look at the flip side of that coin, a no-man’s land I call dilution. This is when something is made weaker in direct relationship to the amount of collaboration and input. This could also be called, too-much-of-a-good-thing-becomes-a-no-thing.
When work product is presented to clients / co-workers / partners who are asked to reflect on it and provide feedback, most of us are accustomed to making modifications or even going back to the drawing board if we got it wrong. But what I’m seeing more is this compromised version that is somewhere in between tweaking and starting over. Besides being frustrating, it risks losing the big idea all together. It’s the never-ending editing, change-tracking, re-writing and feedback loop that in the end, amounts to something entirely different than the original concept.
You have to ask — when should we each stay on our own mat? Do we all have equal say in every matter? Are all votes equal? Does having an Instagram account make you an art director? Does a Cross-Fit membership make you a fitness expert? Does the ability to write — and know your own mind — make you a copywriter? Does picking a web template make you a graphic designer? Does your boyfriend-developer make you a UX pro?
The unfortunate result of over-collaboration is that ‘the work’ gets diluted. It becomes a different species, not a related family member. And, instead of an exuberant, optimistic team, you have an apathetic one who feels undermined and (really) frustrated with an ineffective, mediocre, unrecognizable thing.
Experts are hired or assembled for a reason. They can be utilized, or they can be overruled…but not at the same time.
De-fer-ence: To give humble submission and respect. A definition (and a request.)