When we work from the Agile Canvas, we think about 5 indicators that a group is working at strong levels of collaboration. Collaborative groups are focused, realistic, aligned, inspired and productive. Focus is working from good questions rather than positions, demands and refusals. Realistic is working from facts and data rather than assumptions and speculations. Aligned is working from a common set of operating principles. Inspired is readiness for what we consider amazing rather than afraid of failure. Productive is taking action for the purpose of new learning and results rather than getting bogged down in debates and discussions.
When groups are collaborative, they use the least amount of time, people and resources to get things done. They don't assume more time, people and resources equates necessarily to better outcomes. Their constant commitment to individual and shared learning minimizes risks and optimizes interations of success. They refuse to outsource responsibility for what they do, why and how they do it. They act like they know that they always move in the direction of their conversations.