DAILY INSIGHT: Collaboration or cooperation?

By Jon Castelhano, CIO Advisor

One Love

I recently came across this tweet from Jenny Wright that complemented what my staff and I were talking about at our gathering earlier this week and wanted to share. A good question to ask ourselves as we sit together can come right out of this tweet: "Are we building on our ideas or just working together"? Working happily with each other is important, as in Bob Marley's song "One Love," but to grow as a group we will need to build on each other's ideas and strengths.

The Challenge

Remember when MTV spun off The Real World and Road Rules reality shows in to The Challenge shows? They brought the craziest of the casts together and made them compete against one another. The group dynamics made for good TV because half of them were crazy, but the point when they had to actually work together to accomplish a task at times displayed how they pulled together multiple perspectives/personalities to make things happen. When I or someone from my staff brings forward a thought, idea, or task that we need to get done, I rely upon their ideas and knowledge to figure out the best plan of attack. If we run into bumps in the road, a room full of smart folks is better to right the ship than just one.

Big Difference

None of the above will happen if you do not possess confidence in yourself. Sitting and sharing with peers is often a very difficult thing to do. Insecurities can keep us from opening up and letting out those magic moments that give the group that needed lift. Creating a safe environment where collaboration is supported by leadership can instill confidence and ease insecurities. The arrogance piece is pretty self-explanatory—an arrogant perspective does not encourage collaboration. Yes, folks will sometimes call someone arrogant when they don't agree with what the other person is saying, but a truly arrogant attitude will cause divide over time and that will show. It is a fine line that should not be forgotten about. Some may say posting my own tweets here is arrogant ;-).

Jon Castelhano is director of technology for Apache Junction USD in Arizona. This blog is cross posted on his blog, This and That.