“Collaboration” is an oft-used word in the field of facilitation that I and others practice. Collaboration is a value. It’s a noun. It’s an important practice.

I’ve been learning lately with a friend some added nuance to “collaboration.”

For example, when it comes to collaboration, “conflict comes along with it. It just is.” I would further suggest that this is what complexity brings us — don’t blame each other for complexity; rather, lean in to unknowns together as well as we can. I suppose the most central learning in that is to not fear conflict. Nor to shame it. Be with what is. Grow some skills for listening. For dwelling.

I can’t help but be a person that needs to nuance. My preferred learning is to dig into what I know. To be a keen observer to what I know as personal experience and personal group experience.

So, here goes — today’s added nuancing on collaboration.

In addition to conflict coming with it, “aspiration” is also an important part. The best of collaboration that I know requires an animation of purpose together. Sometimes I distinguish “aspirational” and “operational.” Both matter immensely. If we (many layers of we) are to improve our collaborative capacity, there must be attention to what animates in the heart, both individually and collectively. There must be space for longing to live among us, again, individually and collectively.

In addition to conflict and aspiration coming along with collaboration, we can also expect “practice.” That means doing things both big and small — I have a particular interest in the small, or the “first next steps.” I also have particular interest in what “improves.” Collaboration isn’t a formulaic thing applicable in all circumstances. Formula can guide. But being, living practice, feeling, intuiting — these all are helpful steps. Again, individually and collectively.

I’m so glad for being in association with people who are good at what they do. Who are smart. Who are curious. In this case, about such a fundamental aspect to our field of hosting intelligence, wisdom, kindness, consciousness, flow, and so much more that is enhanced by people collaborating on things that they care about together.

One Reply to “Collaboration”

  1. Hmm. Much to consider here. Quite chewy, I’d say. And so there’s not a singular take-away. Other than the encouragement: Don’t be afraid (of conflict & of complexity). There is a part of me that wants it simple, clean, clear … straightforward and uncomplicated. Oh, little one that lives within me, I hear you. It might seem like it would be so much easier if that could be true.

    Simplicity has its place. It helps me to cut away the extraneous and appreciate what is left when the noise falls away.

    But I think of all the things I love, the people I love — including me. And we are complex. Thank goodness.

    I’m not yet certain I will ever come to love conflict. I think I could learn to embrace it with a slightly different face.

    As always, gratitude for this learning, this opportunity to sift through some chaff.

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