One of the benefits of Collaborative divorce is the team approach to problem solving and support. I am often asked something along the lines: “How do I know that the assembled team will work together for my benefit and not just step on each other’s toes, slow things down, or waste my money?”
While there is not just one effective team, experience has shown me that a team works best when operating under optimal conditions. It is important that clients vet their Collaborative team not just for subject matter expertise but also for team functioning. The Collaborative process always includes an attorney for each client and best practices indicate that the team should also include a financial neutral and at least one mental health professional, who, depending on the issues at hand, can have a variety of roles.
I offer the following factors to consider.
Team members must:
- Trust and respect each other.
- Be committed to the Collaborative process.
- Be flexible and capable of adjusting the process in order to meet the needs of the clients.
- Know how his/her expertise, as well as the expertise of the other team members, will be used to effectuate the goals of Collaborative.
- Be comfortable giving and receiving feedback.
- Be thoughtful communicators. Indeed, this may be the most important quality to predict productive team functioning. Research has shown that how we communicate is the “most important predictor of team success, and as important as all other factors combined, including intelligence, personality, skill, and content of discussions.”
Members of the Northern Westchester Collaborative Divorce Group are not only highly trained and experienced divorce professionals in their respective disciplines, but are committed to working together for the benefit of their clients. Members meet regularly to discuss relevant issues that enhance their experience and knowledge. This frequent contact builds trust and joint purpose to help clients. When you consider Collaborative divorce, make sure that those who will be helping you work well together.
Alex Pentland, The Hard Science of Teamwork, Harvard Business Review (March 20, 2012) https://hbr.org/2012/03/the-new-science-of-building-gr