Tag Archive: collaboration


Sometimes, I wonder why people get into politics. There are some who are faithful public servants, wanting to better the society they live in. Other I suspect have more self-serving motives (and, unfortunately, the means to do it).

Recently, the National Post published an article, “National Post View: Real action needed against ISIL, not sloganeering“. The issue with ISIL is complex with many underlying factors. I can’t comprehend the entire scope of what’s happening in ISIL and, given how media tends to skew issues, there’s probably so much more happening beyond what the public is aware of. But the article does beg the question if/how our leaders are tackling this issue (amongst many others).

While our main federal leaders are out campaigning, I have a slim hope that there are people from all sides of the government, working together across political lines to actually resolve so many issues. (That’s my hope; my skepticism suggests otherwise.) I realize that leaders from different points on the political and ideological spectrum have different ways of addressing issues. However, at some point, shouldn’t we be working together, acknowledging that we all have something worthwhile to bring to the table? Shouldn’t there be some sense of “here’s where we at least agree” and progress from there? At least from my vantage point, all our main political leaders (both in Canada and the US) seem bent on ensuring that their ideas are the ONLY right ideas (and that everyone else’s ideas are wrong). To acknowledge otherwise is to be perceived as weak and ineffective.

Perhaps this is why there’s such cynicism towards are government leaders especially with our upcoming Canadian federal election (and the US presidential election next year). This constant in-fighting amongst our own leaders doesn’t bring hope. (Maybe some don’t really care about hope, just their own perceived success.)

I pray that our leaders, whether with this issue or several other significant ones, would strive to find the BEST answer, not just the one that makes them look good.

PS: This isn’t just about what our government needs to do. (The government doesn’t have all the answers.) We ALL have a role to play in addressing the expanding atrocities against so many people who are killed, raped and enslaved.

Collaboration is a big buzzword nowadays. It’s all about how we can “work together, pooling our combined resources into some bigger than the individual parties” (sounds very baptistic to me).

Honestly, it’s something I struggle with. It seems I have two “default” settings in my brain:
– expert: I come as one with “expertise” in whatever field of discussion.
– empty: I have nothing to contribute and just absorb in a conversation.

Collaboration is that middle ground. It’s in between expert and empty where we all have a place on this continuum. But it’s trying to find where I stand on that continuum so I get a sense of how much I contribute. Too often, I’ve seen people who lean more towards “expert” in a discussion where really, what they contribute has little to no significance. But there are times when I see people who think they’re empty but really have valuable insights to offer. (Perhaps that speaks more towards a person’s sense of humility vs. arrogance.)

What I struggle with is when I can significantly contribute but not go towards “expert” when really I’m not. Do I assume I have an expertise in something in which people are looking for insights from me? (By the way, I don’t the premise that everyone’s opinion is equal. Some people’s opinions in specific topics carry far more weight than others; those are the ones I’m looking for.) There are other times when I’m expected to be the “expert” in a discussion when the participants already know just as much as I do (if not more). In those moments, it’s a matter of drawing those insights out (that’s where coaching comes in i.e. I don’t come as an expert in a field, but I work at drawing out those insights, even for my own learning).

Collaboration can sometimes be tricky in navigating. I know I still have a lot to learn in doing it well. But there is much learning that can take place when we’re willing to give and take not based on what we think we can offer, but with what we really have.

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