Teamwork & Collaboration

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, take others with you.” Native American Indian saying.

Teamwork or collaboration, what’s the difference? Some people may say that teamwork is when individuals work in isolation to achieve a team goal whereas collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. There may be other differences. Teamwork could be the combined effort of a group creating efficiency in achieving an outcome. Collaboration could be seen as the combined effort of more than one individual to produce something. But, does it all really matter? I really enjoy working with others; some things I love to do and others I find myself avoiding. I don’t enjoy reading large slabs of legal texts. And I’m not a fan of spending time researching stuff that I find boring, either in books or on the internet. Balancing financial budgets isn’t really my thing either. However, I enjoy being creative and spending time with people. So, when I’m collaborating with others, I like to find people who enjoy doing things that I don’t and hopefully I’ll be doing things that they’d prefer not to do.

When organising a bike ride from Sydney to Barwon Heads, Mikey took care of the route. Lawrie organised accommodation. Simon and Nev organised team uniforms. I organised food and sleeping arrangements. Everyone else did their part and the whole ride went without incident.

Collaboration can help us to spread the tasks to ensure not only that everything gets done, but everyone can contribute to an end product. It can also help us to build relationships with others when working together.

As a family team, choose one of the following to do this week together.

  • Stand next to each other with your hands beside you. At the same time, everyone reaches in to the middle and holds hands. Together, you need to untangle the knot of hands without breaking the chain. The idea is to finish in a linked circle.
  • Using only a newspaper and sticky tape, work together to build the tallest construction you can.
  • Blindfold one member of the family. Set up an obstacle course with furniture and work together to guide the blindfolded person around the house only using words.
  • Grab an orange and hold it under your chin without using any hands. Stand in a line and pass the orange from one person to the next. Try the same except use a balloon between your legs.
  • Plan a family trivia night where you invite two or three other families over to play against each other.
  • Make a circle with a piece of rope. Have everyone stand in the area without anyone falling out. Now make the circle smaller and try again. How small can you make the circle before it is too small?
  • Make a house of cards together as a family. How can you make sure that everyone contributes?
  • Play a board game or card game that requires you to work in teams.
  • Plan and cook a family meal or picnic together where everyone must contribute. Remember, this includes shopping and cleaning up when you have finished.
  • Find an area in your house where it needs a tidy up or clean. Plan who will do what tasks to ensure the job gets done efficiently.

One thing I love to do is work around the house. I love small projects and sometimes I’ll take on a larger project. After a renovation where the old garage was converted into a studio space, the outdoor area at the back of the new studio was uninspiring. We decided to make a deck to utilise the space that was once unused. I set to work to build the frame with some help from a carpenter friend, Gavin. We got most of it done in a couple of days. A good friend, Andrew, came over the next day and helped sort, cut and nail the boards into place. My kids, Daisy, Finn and Monty, all grabbed a hammer and started to nail in the deck boards after I drilled the holes. Even Andrew’s son, Daniel, helped. With a lot of persistence, effort and loads of teamwork, the deck was completed within a week. The deck looks great and is often used in the afternoon to sit on and chat as the afternoon sun starts to disappear.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan.

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