“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
This week we have a new President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden. His election heralds hope for many millions of Americans and also people in other countries around the world, who think that by collaboration humanity can address its complex problems. These problems include, persistent financial vulnerabilities; a lack of opportunities for underserved groups of the population, with the associated risk of social exclusion; climate and natural disaster threats; demographic challenges; rising trade tensions; and a highly promising but also disruptive wave of innovation.
Collaboration means working together for a common purpose. That’s what you can see in the photo of me building a tower with my grandson Benjamin.
Collaboration is what I call a super value, which means that a number of other values are working together to form it and support its success. Notably the value of trust, without which collaboration fails. Where there is fear the seeds of mistrust are sown. From my experience, trust is built where there is open and honest communication between people; where there is only a hierarchy of roles and never a hierarchy of relationships – all people feeling equally valued and their voices heard.
I am honoured this week to be talking on a panel of the V20 group of values experts. We have been asked to advise the G20 summit of world leaders on the enabling role that values can play in a rapidly changing world. The nurturing of collaboration is a central theme of the summit because without it the goals of the summit, which include combating land degradation and habitat loss; preserving the oceans; promoting food security; combatting corruption; fostering sustainable and resilient water systems globally, will not be achieved.
Whatever you are doing this week, may I invite you to collaborate even more effectively with others. Take time for stillness and reflection, which will support you in growing your awareness of the ways you promote or inhibit collaboration with others. With a focus on collaboration, we can all contribute to nurturing a creative, transformational energy that can transform our relationships and our world for the better.