Remember when you were little? How often do you think your mom told you "to share"? Or to "Get along" with everyone? Both are a part of a greater vision, that is essential to a) maintaining sanity and b) achieving anything. Sharing and getting along is an element within the meaning of Collaboration. When I set out to devise the mission statement for a high profile org 5 years ago, collaboration was at the top of the list as fundamental. I mean how many organizations do you know that are trying to save Pandas, LOTS!!!!!!!! and how many do you know that are trying to save pandas together?
Come up dry?
An organization trying to save land from deforestation could easily partner with an organization trying to save the Pandas that live on said land. It's pretty sad this isn't common place, but ultimately, it's pretty DUMB.
It seems that many organizational leaders are still living in the old paradigm while preaching a new one.
Throughout my experiences, I found many organizations that were true collaborators: Climate Reality Project, Sierra Club and Divest-Invest are ones that come to mind immediately. Open, Flexible, and absolutely engaged in co-creation of energy, ideas and IMPACT. What I love most about true collaborators is that they genuinely want to collaborate at the people level, human to human, not name to name, title to title or Brand to Brand.
Unfortunately, these leaders are truly hard to come by, and what you mostly find are leaders who fail to practice what they preach, earning them fooled eyes and ears.
Non profits aren't selling products, they aren't keeping shareholders happy, they aren't competing. In fact, many organizations freely and routinely promote and market other non profits causes and work, for no reason other than...can you guess? For no other reason than they want to create a better world - SHOCKING I KNOW! A better world! People want that? No way, someone should patent that shit right there.
This type of exclusion behavior is exactly what is wrong with our home, and it's exactly what's preventing us from achieving any new level of evolution upward and away from the knuckle dragging earth terrorists we seem to be.
Little tidbit for you to digest: If you take food, and place it in a bowl, perhaps a lovely medley of vegetables, and you soak it in marinade… what happens to the vegetables? They draw up the marinade and begin to taste just like the marinade. Right?
If you are a true change maker, an authentic visionary, a human soul on fire, you will know in your being that being marinated by only one spice will leave your veggies stuck in the same flavor for an infinity.
A marinade gives food its delicious transformation because of the diversity of flavors it provides. So….. your experiences with organizations, or leaders, or people will enable you to grow immensely only if you make sure diversity is ever present.
Branch out, help a shelter, volunteer for a new org, they often need help the most, and sometimes just having someone believe in them is enough to make incredible things happen. And if any pressure you or make you feel uncomfortable about the work you do with other orgs, wake up, and move on because you're supporting the precise behavior you are trying to change by volunteering or engaging in the first place.
Share your soul, your spirit, your passions in a marinade that isn't false, and in continuous fear based reactionary mode. Find your energies in a space where there is no confusion, there is no limitation as to what you can do to expand love, benefit or change for our world.
As chaos ensues around us, a level of awareness surfaces, and if you sit back and merely watch choices, behavior and the feelings of confusion, or frustration or concern you will see a brave new landscape, well worth tackling. Our planet depends on it. Our planet depends on you to drop exclusion, to disallow it, to speak up against it.
Collaboration is masterful, when it's true. And in order for collaboration to be true, every voice in the room needs to be heard, that voice shouldn't be limited to areas of quiet, that voice shouldn't be shamed, or controlled. All the voices play a perfect role in developing a new way of thinking. Often, the most uncomfortable dialogues produce the most amazing results, and should be encouraged and valued and bloody well applied to the new understanding of how to move forward.
Collaboration needs to feel like you are truly valued, it needs to feel like you are contributing, helping direct, draw, shape and design, and not being playacted with bullshit promises. So, the biggest truth about collaboration is that within the collaboration process, the individual thinkers are not the most valued piece. They are not the smartest people in the room… The smartest person in the room is the room itself.
The room itself.
Go find yourself a truly transparent room.
So, if you want to do cool things, have fun and make some waves. If you want to form true friendships with humans that share your vision, for the love of god make sure you diversify. For the love of potential, don't let ANYONE limit your impact on this planet by "keeping" you, or containing you, or controlling the ways you can positively impact this world.
Blow open your the spice rack and create the baddest marinade ever.