Today is a day for partnership and collaboration and, as such, it’s going to be very exciting indeed. I work closely with a wide range of specialists, people with deep expertise in their own fields. People who bring a lot to any conversation. Today, three of us are sitting down together for the first time to launch a new venture. The other two have never met, so there are some foundations to build, but there’s one thing i’m sure off: it’s easier to learn in collaboration.
Working in a team is fundamentally different from working alone. Alone, i need to learn everything and make all the mistakes myself, whilst in a team, there are others to make those mistakes for you and to learn things you never knew you needed to learn. Alone, you need to be a generalist, dipping into specialisms: in a team, you can be a specialist.
The dynamics of collaboration and partnership are complex, a mixture of shared vision, trust and energy. Without trust, there is no foundation, without vision, you head nowhere and without energy you run out of steam along the way. For me, successful partnerships are as much about shared values as they are about the commercial elements.
Communication always sits at the heart of collaboration. As we move to more virtual teams and distance relationships, communication becomes ever easier, and yet somehow harder to get right. Increasingly we are using collaborative spaces in e-learning, but without always understanding (or taking notice of) the dynamics that power collaboration. We need to take into account the particular reasons why everyone is involved, we need to understand what’s in it for everyone, and how each individual adds to the overall strength of the team.
You can’t mandate for successful collaboration, whether in business or in a learning environment: success is emergent depending on the dynamics that result. It’s as much about the people as it is about the resources. It’s about how together we can achieve more than we can apart.