When the topic of “Collaboration” came my way, I had to think about it. To me collaboration means two diametrically opposing things: one good and one bad. I had to look up what the word really means.
Here are the definitions I found in my dictionary (Riverside Webster’s II Dictionary, Berkley Books, New York, Copyright 1996):
Collaborate. Verb. 1) To work with others. 2) To cooperate with an enemy who has invaded one’s country. Collaboration, noun. Collaborator, noun.
These definitions seemed a little too similar to one another for me. They both seemed to me to mean cooperation, but the second one had a treasonous meaning to it.
So, I searched for synonyms. What did I find? Words like cooperating, teamwork and partnering.
I then searched for concepts and found things like “Mutual trust and respect,” “Idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal,” and “Building trust.” When I did this, things became substantially clearer to me.
Based upon history, the negative and criminal meanings of the word “collaboration” weigh heavily on my mind. There were severe penalties for this crime, including execution! Remember that often one is held accountable for their actions. With that I will move on.
Collaboration at GCC
At the college we talk about Collaboration in many ways! These include working with the people in your department, working with people in other departments, working with people in your division and other divisions. Additionally, we are asked to work with administrators and classified personnel.
When I hear the mention of the suggestion that I be a part of a collaboration here at Glendale College, I personally cringe. I find that one needs to define the parameters of the collaboration clearly. Every person involved needs to determine their personal goal and how they fit into the common goal. Sometimes these are contradictory! I find that in order for me to be a truly effective collaborator, I need to be able to trust and respect the other collaborator(s). The people you collaborate with need to be open to other people’s ideas. I can think about a lot of people here who give lip service to this concept, but that is all!
Teamwork. I find that when I know who is supposed to do what and when they are supposed to do it, working as a team is much easier. I also remember the old cliché, “There is no ‘I’ in team”, so I try and park my ego and hope those around me do the same. When we all understand that we can and will be held accountable for our actions, we can be much more effective. I personally find that I am a much more effective collaborator when I listen and am open to the ideas of others. I find that many of the people I work with here on campus are not particularly open to the ideas of others especially if it is different than theirs or conflicts with theirs.
With all my negativity about collaboration, I must admit that I have had some successes doing it here on the Glendale College Campus.
Second Vice President
Glendale College Guild
|Glendale College Guild