Jim Tamm – The Keys to Radical Collaboration 

In this episode we jump into radical collaboration. Radical collaboration is the ability to hear both sides of an argument with curiosity and empathy and – and this is the pivotal part – an intention to resolve – rather than just beating the other person down with the surely obvious logic of our position. 

Or, and this is the terrifying truth of where we find ourselves at the moment – not showing up in the arena of debate at all – and simply retreating further behind our boundaries – whether those boundaries are global, national, political or digital.

My next guest is no stranger to the arena. Jim Tamm is a former judge for the State of California, a role which enabled him to witness conflict unfold, resolve and of course stay unresolved over the course of two decades and more than 1,000 disputes.

His most recent book, Radical Collaboration (co-authored with Ron Luyet) was on Amazon’s top seller lists for most of the past nine years. He is a former law professor and currently on the faculty of the International Management Program of the Stockholm School of Economics, the Management Education Program at NASA and the Wallenberg Institute in Sweden.

As well as all of that, he is also a dedicated grandfather – which we’ll get into more later.

In this episode, we dive into: 

  • Why now is not a normal time – and why it’s more important than ever to pay attention our triggers – and hard-wired responses when things don’t go our way
  • Going into an empathetic space: Why role-swapping and learning to fight for the other ‘side’ is key to being a master collaborator
  • The vital role of collaborative intention – and why stating your ‘intent to collaborate’ at the beginning of any negotiation can turn the whole thing around
  • Becoming aware of your answer to this simple question – when someone makes a mistake – do you get curious, or furious?
  • And finally – but most powerfully for me – how to identify which of the three faces of fear – being or being seen as unlikable, insignificant or incompetent – are currently running your life. This one seriously was a game changer for me.

What I want you to reflect on here is that last part. What’s your primary fear? What’s the real trigger in those moments where you fight, freeze or run when the going gets tough – or when the conversations get hard? What’s the No 1. story that kicks you into furious – when all the solutions live in a place of staying curious?

Is it that they might not like you if they knew the truth? Or that your voice isn’t important enough to be heard? Or that eventually, everyone will find out that you’re actually an imposter who’s surely not meant to be here.

Figure that out – name it – learn to recognise the moment it kicks in – and that’s the biggest shortcut I know to the land radical collaboration – and radical results.

On that note, I’ll leave you with the sage words and extraordinary insights from a career on the frontline of conflict. The incredible Jim Tamm.

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