Q Los Angeles 2013
Arts + Entertainment
Science + Tech
Collaboration: More Than a Nice Option
There's no doubt that individuals, organizations, and companies around the world are collaborating more than ever. With the growth of accessibility to technology, transportation, and networks, it has become increasingly commonplace to see people move as a collective tribe. In fact, many of the projects that I am involved with would not have been possible without a cultural environment postured towards collaboration. I hope that this post will provide some clarity, direction, and encouragement for those desiring to work more intentionally with others.
The following are some of my thoughts on why I think collaboration is becoming more of a necessity in 21st Century ministry:
The Task is Too BIG!
Regardless of the vocational field we work in, our mission, as followers of Christ, calls us to live as tangible representatives of God's love and grace towards humanity. Jesus specifically commissioned us to embrace the poor, suffering, sick, and marginalized. When one considers what we're called to, he/she will quickly realize that no single ministry, business or organization will ever fulfill this mission alone. Our mission is TOO BIG!!! The needs are too great and only collaboration with each other will bring the kinds of results God desires.
My good friend Dave Gibbons often says, "Scarcity brings clarity." This is so true. Our current economic downturn has brought a lot of clarity about what is really valuable to many of our endeavors. Gone are days of lavish spending and over-staffing of churches, organizations, and businesses. Our difficult times have forced many to think more creatively about fulfilling mission. What's emerging during these times is the need for intentional collaboration.
I think God is posturing all of us to be more open towards working together. We must be willing to set aside personal brand when necessary for greater Kingdom impact. I've been encouraged by the growing number of organizations that are beginning to share resources including staffing, facility, networks, and even budgets.
In the Church world, I think (and hope) that we will actually see more churches not only work together but consider merging in some situations in order to bring more health to several congregations. This will require more churches to consider Kingdom before local church, a paradigm shift for many denominations and established networks.
Collaboration is the Road to Change
The beauty of collaboration, when practiced with the right posture, is that it will create more creative solutions for change. Some of the best ideas are birthed by two seemingly unrelated ideas that come together at a creative moment. Although we cannot control when these moments will be, we can create a relational environment in which ideas are allowed to dance together. Collaboration can create this environment. People who don't collaborate intentionally are missing out on a reservoir of creativity that potentially could create life-change.
In closing, it's important to note that collaboration is not some loose or shallow form of commitment. I personally have seen many who desire to collaborate and actually don't when it's all said and done. Collaboration takes more commitment than agreeing to do something at a meeting. Anyone can talk about collaboration. In light of this common pitfall, the following are some suggestions for those who are serious about collaborating:
Schedule time to collaborate
. Make networking a consistent part of your weekly routine. There may be spontaneous opportunities, but most should be planned. Make the effort to call and set up a meeting with those you would like work with (even if you are not sure on how you think you could work together). Keep in mind that "unrelated" connections are okay. Allow them to merge over time.
Be prepared to listen
. Take time to learn more about the person you are trying to connect with. Listen first without feeling the need to share your heart. Listening well will bring clarity to future possibilities. Don't just meet the person to "pitch" your idea. Think in terms of how you plan to bring benefit to the one you're meeting.
Follow up and follow through
. If ideas do arise doing the meeting, please follow with the person within the week and always follow through with any commitments you make (e.g., "I'll give you a call this week." or "I can be at your event.", etc.). In other words, always under-commit and over-deliver and not the other way around.
Take time to affirm, encourage, and platform the work of others
. There's no greater way to minimize a competitive spirit than lifting someone else up! Don't consider them your competition. Rather, view them as teammates.
Although these are not all the reasons for why we should collaborate it does allow us to begin a conversation.
Fantastic stuff here on the practicalities of true collaboration. Thanks, Charles. This goes against the grain of our individualistic self-worth. I especially loved when you said this: "People who don't collaborate intentionally are missing out on a reservoir of creativity that potentially could create life-change."
Thanks for the note Jenelle! Always appreciate your input and would love to hear more about your thoughts about the connection between self-worth and collaboration (or lack there of).
Post is nicely written and it contains many good things for me. I am glad to find your impressive way of writing the post. Now it become easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thanks for sharing the post.
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