What is Collaboration?
Collaboration has become a new buzz word – but what does it actually look and feel like to collaborate? We can only know what skills to learn and develop if we actually understand the nitty gritty of collaboration – which is tricky when there are so few folk around with actual experience of it over a sustained period.
What’s more, it is hard to helpfully describe collaboration in words because true collaboration relies on an embodied understanding of the invisible forces underpinning how we relate with each other – and share power. We can read a million books about collaboration and its necessary structures and processes, but unless we are actually able to relate and communicate in a collaborative way, then invisible hierarchies will simply replace visible ones – with the former almost certainly being more destructive.
Collaboration is largely about relationships and relating – all of which require us to learn how to connect with others in nourishing and effective ways. To be able to relate and connect with others, we need first to be in connection with ourself – we need to know how we are feeling before we connect with others and whilst relating with others.
Learning is in the doing: you don’t get big biceps by reading books about body building! The irony of producing a whole website section on collaboration is not lost on me – please do seek experiential ways of learning how to develop healthy collaborative relationships and groups.
Healthy Collaborative Groups …
… and dedicate as much time to relationships, processes and structures as they do to getting stuff done.