There’s a reason why Santa has a whole team of elves to make the toys: division of labour. If one elf had to do it all, he’d be a very busy elf indeed. That’s also why he has so many reindeer pulling the sleigh: it’s easier to pull in a team (seasonal prize if you can name all the reindeer without resorting to Google).
Just as Santa has to collaborate with his team to get that new remote control car into your stocking, so too we all rely on collaboration in the Social Age of learning.
We collaborate in communities: sharing, telling stories, learning and leading. Culture is formed, broken and reforged through collaborative activities and conversations. Social learning is inherently collaborative, allowing us to create meaning through and alongside our communities.
But collaboration can’t be taken for granted: it is built upon foundations of trust, integrity, respect, reciprocity, authenticity, timeliness and shared values. We can sow the seeds and prepare the ground for this through careful curation of the ecosystem and clarity around the rules and moderation.
How widely do you collaborate, and do you think it’s really collaboration, or are you just sharing? Or just taking? Or pulling in a different direction? Are you engaged in the right communities for your role?
As individuals, we need to develop our stance on collaboration (which is why it forms one of the nine components of Social Leadership), and as organisations, we have to recognise that the relationship between employer and employee is two way. We have to foster collaboration effectively, through provision of infrastructure, socially collaborative technology and an mindset that promotes it.