Stop calling it collaboration!

If you’re helping a group work together, collaboration is not what you’re looking for.  It’s the behaviors that make up collaboration you want to focus on, most noticeably – coordination.  Coordination can be measured and quantified (who does what, by when and how the work is performed), while collaboration is the spirit these behaviors.  It’s the difference between a vision and a goal.   A vision is where you want to end up while a goal is how you get there.   When someone spouts “let’s collaborate”, trust your instinct and ask them “what do you mean by this?”  You’ll quickly discover there is another layer of meaning that gets to the behaviors you’re trying to influence.

There’s nothing wrong with terms not used in everyday language (otherwise called jargon), except when no one, even the speaker knows what they mean.   Point out these elephants in the room.  It will help everyone get to the intent behind the words spoken.