Five years ago I co-founded the School of Collaboration – a German not-for-profit organization in the fields of research and education – aiming to improve human interaction in teams. Like any other start-up we needed a website for sure. But it took us half a decade to go live. Here is my personal version of why:
Though teamwork has been a mantra for my entire life, only in my mid-thirties I realized that I never really learned anything about how exactly one can be or become a good team-player. Is it more a kind of a skill, aka something one can learn and improve or is it just a talent or power?
To be honest, untill then I always considered myself as being a good team-player, mostly just because I often was in the role of leading teams, groups, organizations and initiatives and people had voted me for doing so. Growing up in the 70’s and early 80’s in Germany it felt much better to consider myself as a good team-player than a leader. A misinterpretation one can often find in the field (LOL).
When we started the School of Collaboration in 2014 I already found myself in the position of exploring and learning more about team work and good collaboration since the early 2000s – mostly by reflecting the experiences I made in different groups, feeding my interest and curiosity. But I did not exactly feel like an expert and far away from teaching anything about it. And neither did my fellows.
We decided to call it school, also because we knew that there would be so much more to learn – not only for the people we were planning to coach and educate at some point, but also for us, the founders, teachers and coaches.
However, as a serial entrepreneur and activist a new website comes with every new company or project. Usually it takes only weeks or a few months until the first version is online. Who are we, what problems do we solve, how do we want to make the world a better place, etc – blabla.
How could it take so long?
Of course we started to discuss the first drafts and designs shortly after the foundation. But again and again we questioned our approach, our skills, our knowledge and our writing. Is there really something we have to say? Do we know anything about how to really improve human interaction in teams? What exactly makes good collaboration? What tools, methods and environments are supporting the people and their processes?
Now – five years later – the website is online (YEAH!). Not that I would consider myself a master of collaboration now, but at least me and my colleagues reached some confidence over the time that we feel ok enough about it to make us visible to the world and to start talking about our experience, findings and recommendations to the public.
Next step we are facing is to create and deliver good trainings. Let’s not get too nervous about the period, but continue to focus on the mellowness and the outcome! 😉
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