From Co-worker to Co-llaborator


Some workplace didn’t even get to that phase.

People just share a parking lot, a refrigerator and maybe a Christmas Party.

Meanwhile, you can collaborate with  people miles apart, in different languages and time zones.

Welcome to the new work place. MNC’s have gone through this phase. From relocation to repatriation.

Employees got shifted around, to cross-pollinate and get cross-trained.

Management just hope for collaboration. They can organize people into teams, build them and encourage cohesiveness. But ultimately, the decision lies in each member. To help one another as fellow sojourners.

Times are hard.

I guess companies are hoarding cash, and get the most productivity from their employees.

The next and last step is to optimize team work and output.

Managers will need to turn themselves into leaders of team. Resolving those conflicts, working with diversity in cultures and expectations, and reward both strong and not-so-strong personalities. Teams need both the weak and the strong.

Just as society does.

For the period between WWII and  these past 2 wars, we in the US have lived off the glory of the past: GI bills and Dollar bills.

Now, with a stronger China and Japan sliding (though still an industrial power might), we need to acknowledge to ourselves that the playing field has been unleveled (this past Olympic screamed this message loud and clear).

Need to teach our next generation how to do things, fix things, and not jut buying things ( often times from the credits China and the Oil-rich countries extended to us).

In fact, some of the most basic life skills such as being courteous, being kind, paying it forward, saving, eating healthy, basic math and science and geography-history, need to be taught. Other digital skills such as texting, playing games, computer operation and programming, will come as given.

In short, new combination of skills are required for survival in this new age.

I am thinking of SMS contest vs hot-dog-eating contest. The former stays with us for quite a while, and the latter can be let go (nice and fun tradition, but it encourages gluttony).

Back to collaboration. People who work together need to make teams work.

And when team works, companies reap the benefits of happy collaborators.

You will be amazed how one creative idea sparks another one, and another one. 3M’s Post-It notes, HTML are just a couple of examples how creativity and collaboration really make our lives easier.

Look at your co-worker again. See if he or she needs more nutrition, exercise, or just encouragement. Be the collaborator you have always wished you run into at work.

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