As I work through the challenges that come when collaborating on a start-up opportunity, I have discovered it is easier to work with another when we leverage each other’s strengths. It may seem obvious, however I do not think it comes naturally. When one passionately believes in something, it follows that one carries an unquenchable desire to see things through to the way that you imagine. While one can let go at times, the critical nature of the details of one’s vision leads to an interest into the relevant details relevant and less so. Collaboration is often aspiration, not real.
Life keeps reminding me of the following.
Not all details matter. Some details are subordinate to the bigger picture. While influencing, they are not the bold strokes that define it. Letting go is as important as holding on to any particular detail.
Strengths are not always universal. Others have strengths that I do not. They can do things that I struggle with. They can see things that are not in my vision. They have values that I do not. Together we are far greater than either could be on our own.
Collaboration takes two or more. One never collaborates alone. Collaboration is a mix of ideas, values, perspectives, and most importantly, actions. Embracing the actions of others, celebrating when they do something well, and nurturing what they think is important is central to giving collaboration life and keeping it alive.
As I reflect on the progress we have made and the possibilities for the future, I realize that I have changed along the way. I have more strengths than when I began. I see things differently. In short, collaboration has enriched me from the inside out.
I also see opportunities within my reach that I have missed. In hindsight, I understand the psalmist prayer. In his whisper he saw what only Divinity could do. “Do what you do so well: get me out of this mess and up on my feet. Put your ear to the ground and listen, give me space for salvation.” (Psalm 71.2)