Have you ever thought about that word? It sounds so easy. And, it should be. It comes from the latin 'col' meaning 'together' and 'laborare' meaning 'to work'. One dictionary definition I found says ' When you work together on a shared goal, you collaborate. If you don't just split a project up evenly but work together on creating solutions, you collaborate. '
This definition resonates. It emphasizes teamwork. Teams are a special sort of group. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I love this quote.
I've always loved being on teams. This is one of those quirky ironies of life for me because I'm not good at ANY of the traditional team things (like sports or choir or plays) where young people usually get their first exposure to teamwork. Fortunately, I grew up in a small town where I was encouraged to TRY all these things in spite of my lack of talent.
Then, in my teens, wonder of wonders, I found that teamwork is something we need to do EVERY SINGLE DAY at work. Then, a wise person told me, "marriage is the team approach to life". And, my place in the world fell into place. I'm a collaborator. When I'm not collaborating, I love introspection, but I'm never satisfied with what I learn - UNTIL I get to share it with someone!
But, I'm not a great collaborator. As an introvert, it's been a hard 'soft skill' to improve. I began to use some mental shortcuts to be a better collaborator.
At work, I'm beginning a project where collaboration is going to be super-duper important. As a 'soft skill,' collaboration is sometimes neglected by excellent teammates. I get it. It's easier to do it yourself than stretch your empathy and critical-thinking muscles. But, we never reach the full potential of the TEAM, unless we collaborate. So, I put some of my own mental shortcuts together in the following video and supplemental material. The video is still a Work in Progress, but it's time to share it and get feedback.
Supplemental material: https://static.wixstatic.com/ugd/a1c2b4_56179b1c4a5e4b7bbfe4ae6b0fd133d2.docx