Collaboration: Deconstructing "Other" and Recreating "We"

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Obstacles to effective collaboration sometimes show up BEFORE we even begin to work together. Those obstacles are often based on our implicit, sometimes unconscious assumptions and biases.

Using tools of listening, understanding and compassion, we can break through those barriers and get beyond intractable "other" situations to a more collaborative "we" environment where we find more possibilities.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Think about a collaborative project you are working on. Who are your others?
  2. Do you perceive that other as a threat to you or to the things you care about? In what way(s)?
  3. How might the assumptions you are making or the stories you're telling yourself about the other get in the way of effective collaboration?
  4. Imagine that your assumptions about the other may not be true or complete. Think of the other with compassion and openness. Then ask yourself, "What might be the needs, wants, hopes and concerns of the other in your collaborative project?"
  5. Does acknowledging your assumptions and thinking about the other with compassion and curiosity open any new possibilities in your thinking about them?

Joy Lujan

Former Community Planner
Collaboration Clinics
Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program, NPS

Watch Joy's other videos on collaboration:

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