Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
—Malcolm S. Forbes
What is it about us? Why can’t we work together and collaborate?
Indians are often individualistic and unable to collaborate in teams. Put a team together, give them a single goal and before you know it, the individuals in the team scurry to push themselves up and pull the others down. All for the outsider to see! Isn’t that what helped the British? Could they have conquered us if we had collaborated?
Our education system should have figured this out and focused on building teamwork and collaboration more. Today, we continue to use a system that was built by the British centuries ago, to create an army of followers who are unable to unite to lead. They needed that, we don’t!
In the 21st century, companies will need collaborative problem solving to succeed– we cannot build great companies with individuals, we have to build them with cohesive teams. Research has shown that collaboration is not only important but a necessity, due to globalization and the growth of technology. In fact, Wikipedia is an example of collaboration on a very wide scale. How powerful is that!
James Surowiecki, a business journalist from the New York Times, aptly said in his book “… a large group of diverse individuals will come up with better and more robust forecasts and make more intelligent decisions than even the most skilled ‘decision maker.” We must, therefore, remember that a team that works well together will defeat any smart individual who doesn’t work in a team!
How do we ensure our children build collaborative skills early on in life? As parents, we must look at how their school adapts to the needs of the world and creates a more collaborative environment for learning and assessing performance.
If that is not happening we must supplement this outside the classroom. Here are a few things we can do:
- Get your children involved in a team sport! Take time out to watch them. Encourage them to revel in team performance more than individual glory.
- Involve them in additional activities that encourage collaboration. My boys spend time building things and learning new concepts in a collaborative environment with other children at the centre. This gives them the advantage of working with diverse groups outside their school.
- Play team games at home as a family. Many board games are team based and great fun. Call friends and other families over to make it more interesting and effective.
- Get them to be part of activities such as outdoor camps and volunteer events. Getting out and doing something with a new group of children (even adults) is a great way to encourage collaboration.
- Find ways in which you can get children involved in group performances and activities. Help them organize one themselves, if need be. This could vary from a musical or dance performance, to even something like setting up a shop at your community with other children.
Children who can collaborate are more confident and happier. They will take our country to the next level of growth, as they bring together the best skills available globally to build great companies!
Let’s go against the grain. Let’s learn from history.