What Is Collaboration?
Collaboration means working together with people from across the business to achieve a shared goal. Although similar to teamwork, a collaborative partnership is not hierarchical – everyone has equal status, no matter their seniority.
It’s a great way to encourage people to share knowledge and resources.
It can provide great opportunities for cross-skilling and networking and can even improve employee engagement levels.
Collaboration benefits organizations as it helps them to be more creative and competitive.
Sports teams know this equally as well. No football, baseball, soccer or basketball game was ever won by only one person. Everyone must work together for the common goal of winning.
SCAVENGER HUNT ACTIVITY IN UCD:
In order to incorporate this ability of Collaborative thinking among our batch our professor Ms. Jane organised an activity of Scavenger Hunt. She divided the class randomly into different groups of equal number of participants who all were strangers to each other initially. Each group was assigned a colour code and my group was recognised with “Purple” colour. Speaking truly, I don’t like Purple colour at all but somehow, I liked it that moment as it was something which I was representing now. My team was of six people having equal number of boys and girls from different nationalities. This was going to be something exciting and entertaining. It was my first group activity in a team with new people of different languages and cultures. So, in order to start team-building, we all met in class few times and even created a WhatsApp group to be in touch. We shared our views about our course and college to start our chats so as to open-up with each other. This was an easy way to understand others mindset by discussing on a common topic. In this way you can co-relate and coordinate with your team easily by understanding them first. I started talking with everyone in the group and even shared jokes to make the aura easy-going and relaxed. This should not only be limited to a course activity only rather a moment to enjoy and make new friends.
Collaboration can demand a lot from people. It means being open-minded, listening to other people’s opinions and putting personal agendas to one side. I had to keep my ear open for everyone and start thinking from their perspective also- trust me it’s not that easy it seems.
While some people will jump at the chance to collaborate, others may not be so keen. They might see it as an imposition on their time and be worried about the extra work or stress that it could bring along. This was something important on my part to understand about the others and how they are taking this activity forward. It’s easy to believe your role is highly significant and just as easy to believe your role doesn’t matter much. The truth is, every individual’s role is vital to the success of the activity.
As per the activity, we had to choose a captain and a co-captain for each group. I chose myself to be the co-captain and rather gave my friend Rory to be the captain who seemed to be very interested in that position. Since the basic funda of Collaboration is having a leadership quality and also listening to others perspective and giving them a chance, which were both fulfilled by our above mutual team decision. The activity was supposed to be conducted during our lecture time and would last for an hour. The activity area was restricted within the college premises and traveling option was walking or running. The rules were simple as to attain maximum scores by solving as many clues/riddles possible while including the time consumption. We do not have to cheat by stealing/hiding other team’s clues as it could lead in deduction of our points instead we could help them and rather take their help in this favour. Since the main agenda of the activity was to encourage Collaborative behaviour among our class which definitely requires few responsibilities which had to be taken up by us as an individual: –
Leadership quality: – This was achieved by becoming the co-captain of my team and not being afraid to listen to new ideas and offer solutions.
Building trust: – I took this responsibility of trust-building as it’s the root cause of an effective collaboration success. If the team lacks trust and confidence within members and its leaders there is no scope of winning. I made them understand my thoughts and perception of winning this activity which was crucial for us to succeed and over-power our competitors.
Exploiting different spaces: – Meeting up together in canteen and sharing a lunch together with the team can invite creativity and collaboration by setting up fun, relaxed spaces within our college atmosphere. We did so by meeting up for a good lunch so that to mingle and feel comfortable with the members before the start of our activity.
Define Purpose:- For a successful collaboration the team goals should be fixed and focussed which was winning the Scavenger event in our case. Everybody had their intentions clear and were confident to get this done efficiently.
Everyone has something valuable to offer and skills can be grasped from anywhere. Each person has skills, ideas and experience they bring to the table.
There’s no “I” in “TEAM.” Recognition and respect of contribution should be shared among all the team members. Credits should be given to all and everyone mistakes should be forgiven. I made sure to apologize to my team members in case of any missteps or confusions created by me. Holding a grudge and obstructing someone’s efforts can be hazardous in a good collaborative team leading to failure of the goals.
These were the key concepts of collaboration maintained in our “Purple” team and strictly followed by each of us.
Finally, on the day of the event before the start of the “Scavenger Hunt” activity we were given bandanas as per our team colour. Here a look of my dashing bandana.
My Purple bandana —
We were made to recall the rules and told to play the game fairly without injuring ourselves. Everybody was excited about the activity and looked energetic and enthusiastic towards it. Finally, the eagerness was over, and each group was handed over with clue-questions to find the location of their answers which rather made me and all of us aware about the sculptures in our beautiful campus. Our team of 6 people were divided into two groups of 3 people in each so that we can cover more area in less time. The groups were divided keeping strengths and weaknesses of each in mind. I was leading one of the groups and made sure to solve half of the clues while both the teams were in contact through WhatsApp and calls. Two people of our team who were staying in the campus hostel were bit more aware about the surroundings and were distributed in both the groups as they were helping us in quick navigation. We had a great start and my team were the first among all other teams to accomplish few tasks. I still remember the “bubble blowing and dancing” moment near the lake made all six of us so overjoyed and happy because we reached there ahead of all teams.
My group under my leadership were the first to pick-up the clue near the bookshelf of James Joyce library where we needed to solve the riddle which said-“The more there is of me the less you can see. What am I?”. A good riddle to confuse everyone but some how I managed to break the answer and guess what it is – “Darkness”. I was appreciated by my team members for good presence of my mind at critical moment. I can still visualise those moments which are captured for lifelong. Here are few glimpses of them: –
We were terrific as a team in terms of understanding and solving the clues which made me personally very much confident about our chances of winning. This led to overconfidence which highlighted as my weakness later on because my enthusiasm degraded resulting in the delay of finding our last clue. That clue was taking a long to solve and rather we all started clicking pictures presuming our win. This I realised after the activity was over and still consider it as a reason for not being the winners. Each day has a lesson to teach and we always learn from our mistakes. Nevertheless, this activity taught me a lot about collaboration techniques which undoubtedly is a gem to learn and be successful in your career and teaches you how to overcome the hurdles in life.