Yesterday I was in a worship service with my co-workers. While singing, I observed the worship leader and the piano player leading us into a beautiful praise and worship experience unto the Lord. Both the keyboard player and the worship leader were working together for a good; they were collaborating. The singer’s voice was beautiful, but the accompaniment of the melodious music by the keyboarded player added a different kind of beauty to her voice, and to the overall experience. They were better together than alone. 

Most of the amazing things and experiences in life are achieved by people bringing their resources and working together creatively for a greater good. Whether it is the Great Wall of China, Tesla’s electric cars, the great pyramids of Giza in Egypt or Apple’s iconic I-Phone, combining efforts and talents can produce not just great products, but transformational results. How many people know that Apple’s I-phone is designed in California but manufactured in China from tech parts resourced from suppliers in 43 countries around the world? This is an impressive example of a well-managed collaboration. Each supplier provides something that is different yet essential and necessary for the effective operation of the I-phone. No doubt collaboration involves teamwork, but it is more. One can be on a team and not contribute as it is in a baseball game where a team member waits in the wings but might never get to go on the field to play. Collaboration requires each team member to contribute something meaningful to the table. 

Being raised and socialized within a Western world mindset where individuals are expected to basically know and do everything for themselves, collaborating can be challenging, possibly something to avoid or reluctantly approach. This is especially true of emotionally insecure and or territorially controlling people who struggle at the thought of including or incorporating someone’s opinion or idea other than their own. Sharing the spotlight of an achievement with other individuals can be quite unattractive, possibly worrying because they want all the attention and praise. The truth is no one person cannot do everything; only God can. Humans, however, are created with unique gifts, talents and abilities that are different from that of another human. This diversity allows for inter-dependence. We need something that another person is blessed with. We are better and stronger together. This is why there is no need to be jealous or envious of another person’s abilities, but to welcome them with their gifts and abilities. 

When we collaborate, let us bring our true self and equally allow others to bring their multifaceted self along with their life experiences. When we do this, the creative and innovative possibilities are endless. It is here where ideas can be refined, goals adjusted, operation evaluated, vision assessed, consequences weighed, mission implemented, finances leveraged, creativity harnessed, communication strengthened, errors avoided, risks mitigated and hearts united. Collaborating with others can do wonders; ask Apple Inc. Are you a collaborator or an insecure protectionist?

By Kiplin Batchelor (Guest writer)