In this article, I would like explore the final quality which I felt was important: Collaboration.
I must first make a disclaimer that collaboration is not one of my strengths. However more and more, I found it a very interesting aspect to learn about and the importance of it. If you have any opinions to share on this, please share! In the meanwhile, below are my personal thoughts about collaboration…
If I were to write a formula about what collaboration is, I would put it this way:
Collaboration = Win-Win + Common Ground + Soft-Skills
In order for collaboration to happen, the very first prerequisite would be to have a win-win mentality. We might have different visions and different missions in life, however, we value the fact that we might have something to offer at the table to each other. Over here, I just want to make a note that the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R Covey probably has one of the most comprehensive explanation of what the win-win mentality is about.
In my opinion, win-win would also encompasses openness, the willingness to learn from others and the willingness to share what we know. I put the willingness to learn from others before the willingness to share for an exact purpose. For this, I would like to point to Brene Brown’s research that in order for a person to give something, they must learn how to receive first. Similarly, I think it is easy for everyone to talk about ourselves and what we know to feed our ego. However, we must also humble ourselves and learn to listen to what others have to offer.
In the world out there, a big part of collaboration is actually to co-create something. You might be thinking that isn’t this a conflict to the “different visions and missions” I was talking about above?
There is no contradiction here. I thought that the two actually goes hand in hand. During the collaboration period, collaborators would need to find a common goal to achieve:
A friend of mine was Whatsapp-ing me regarding an idea to create iPhone and Android applications for a business. Meanwhile, I’ve recently learned how to develop Android applications and I am interested to further my skills in this area. At this current moment, his vision was to start a business and my vision was to further my skills in developing Android application.
Our common ground, developing an Android application for his business.
Common ground deals with much with the values of each of the collaborators. There actually isn’t too much we could do about if common grounds cannot be met although we could search for middle grounds.
However, the ability to communicate your thoughts effectively to your collaborators would be something that you could actually learn. Getting yourself into a presentation course could be useful. I want to share with you something which I thought was more powerful, something which I learned from Lusi Group, and that is soft skills.
We might have heard it too many times and I heard it from my coach, Lusi Lim. It is not important to win an argument. The bottomline is, so long the job gets done. Not her exact words, but something to that effect.
In the process of collaboration and sharing, it is unavoidable that our ideals will get challenged and shaped. Having the win-win mentality to accept criticism gracefully is one thing, but what if we are able to soften our delivery of an observation or an opinion so that our collaborators can assess what you have to say more objectively?
In collaboration, we do not keep quiet if we see something we disagree. It is usually more productive to be more open about our different views but because we are all talking about things we are so passionate about, words may hurt others easily and it may get them on the defensive, rather than the open and cordial environment needed for collaboration to take place.
Communication skills anchoring on logic will not be sufficient in this case. Soft-skills to engage and connect with our collaborators would be far more effective.
Critical Thinking, Innovation and Collaboration. The three important qualities of a rebel a person should possess in today’s context in my humble opinion.
How about the rest of the world, what do they think? I think have some clues to this but I guess I better save this topic for another post before this post becomes a TL;DR. Thank you for reading up till the end of this post~!