Monday, December 10, 2012

The Stinky Business of Collaboration

Recently I have had the topic of collaboration verse cooperation arise in a variety groups and in a variety of ways.  I thought I would share the process with you.

To begin let us look at the words themselves

 to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor or to participate or assist in a joint effort to accomplish an end.  Merriam Webster Dictionary

Cooperation:  to associate with another or others for mutual benefit; to form or enter into an association that furthers the interests of its members Merriam Webster Dictionary

Collaboration and Cooperation are not interchangeable word. While each a contribution effect, it seems to me they are vastly different terms.   It is interesting to listen deeply to various perspectives in these discussions.

In one discussion some one suggested that cooperation is the action of collaboration to co create; thus one needs to cooperate in action to accomplish the collaborated vision.

I had a teacher describe collaboration to me this way, in an concert band each instrument has a sheet of music to play. Each person works to perfect their piece of the musical interlude, yet the music was composed as a complete piece. If there was no french horn or no clarinet, it would not be complete. Each musician works to perfect their own piece, but not so that they will stand out, but so as a complete musical interlude - the band will stand out.

While another teacher who shared to them an orchestra is really a cooperation rather than a collaboration.  It is one vision with one leader.  Whereas, a drumming circle has no leader and has one vision - the beat.  If a single drummer steps out, the beat continues.  If the conductor of the orchestra steps out, there is no leader.

I had always considered a cooperative effort like a network.  A collective mission with individuals supporting one another; yet still focused upon their individual missions.  If the individual mission succeeded, then the network or the cooperative succeeded.  A collaboration I considered to be a collective mission with no leader, no individual mission but rather a collective voice with collective mission.

I spent a great deal of time this weekend diving deeply into the compost of belief to see where spirit would lead me on the definition of the words after these many discussions.  As it is said that wisdom emerges through the asking of questions and silencing to receive the answers in order to integrate the knowledge into the practical.  It is one thing to have a discussion of terms, definitions, and beliefs; it is quite another to bring it into application.  This lead me back to the process of alchemy.  

In alchemy there is a seven stage process.
Step One:  Calcination ... a base metal with fire. In this case the base metal is our ego. Our ego determines what our beliefs are and whether we are open to receiving the new. So we burn them to embers.

Step Two:  Dissolution ... the floods of water to break down our structures and foundations. Wash the fiery ash away to make room for something new.

Step Three:  Separation ... so now we are where - separated from our egos, separated from our belief, and all that remains is the soul without expectation of self or others. We have separated ourselves from being our own obstacle in receiving.

Step Four:  Conjuction ... the merging back together to form something new. Where convention of the old has left and the new truths are birthed. Taking all perceptions, all opinions, all beliefs into account and determining which hold balance - even if that balance is aligned in a new way.

Step Five:  Fermentation .... composting, digesting, contemplation, consideration ... this is where all is being weighed, considered, fermenting in the mind. It is from here that the creative imagination takes hold. Can we really co create something new? A new paradigm of collaboration?

Step Six:  Distillation ... it starts, the magic, the pictures, the vision. This is where we shift truly from a self perspective to a Spirit perspective. It removes the remaining ego of identity so that a true collaboration without need for individual self to be considered.

Step Seven:  Coagulation ... here is where the gold is. Here is where the vision, the base metal is transcended into wisdom. The voice becomes one that all can speak with integrity as truth. It is pure gold. So where am I in this process of how does one co create a collective in true collaboration without self, without any one's self, with Spirits voice to bring in a new paradigm of action .... Let's just say the smell is a bit rank ... so we must be doing something right ... My question to you is ... what is your process of rethinking, redefining and bringing new collaboration creation to the world?