Collaboration

Some of my favorite things begin with the letter, “C”. Community, church, Cru, college, coffee, cooking, creating, celebrating, compassion, the color coral, chocolate, and my new favorite – collaboration.

Just for fun, my name is Caitlin, my favorite girls name is Charlotte, I drive a charcoal CR-V, my college’s colors were cream and crimson, my sorority’s flower was the carnation, I love champagne and I am a recovering Coca-Cola Classic addict. I’m also a high “J” on the Myers Briggs personality test, meaning that I like closure. (I challenge you to pick a letter and see if you can come up with as many favorites as I can with the letter C!)

Anyways, I work in an office full of women. While this may not be the ideal environment for a man (we’re welcoming, I promise), it has been so life-giving to me over the past year and a half. I love my work environment because we celebrate birthdays with cakes and cards, my co-workers are intelligent and compassionate, and also because it encourages collaboration.

Late last week, I spent a couple days working on updating some of our marketing materials. I was updating a document that has had some revisions over the past couple years, but they have been minor, not major changes. When I start a project with updating in mind, I’m not always asking the big picture questions – Is there a better way to present this information? Why have we used this picture in the past? As I made some cosmetic changes to this document, there was still something off, but I could not figure it out. Thankfully, I work with people who happily give feedback and know that sometimes it just takes another set of eyes. The end result of this document is far better than anything I could have come up with on my own. It is organized better and instead of just being updated fonts and consistent sizing, it is easier to follow and pleasing to the eye. Because of collaboration.

My boss and I have been talking a lot about this concept because of how we have seen it transform our work place.

Collaboration says, “What we can accomplish together is far better than what I can accomplish on my own.”

Collaboration says, “I care more about the end goal than about my name being the only one on it.”

Collaboration says, “I’m willing to combine our ideas together to create something new.”

Unfortunately collaboration is not what comes naturally. Collaboration contrasts with 17 years of my public education where my grade was what I earned. Yes, class projects factor into an overall grade, but it is primarily what one is able to accomplish as an individual. Collaboration has taken me unlearning selfish habits and keeping my eyes focused on the greater vision. Thankfully, in my workplace, the greater vision is easy to get on board with – families for children in need, but even with that cause, I can make it about me. I worry about my own career or how I can achieve my goals. My aspirations and selfish desires can start to taint the community-oriented work place that we have created.

I am beginning to understand that collaboration is the way of the kingdom. Collaboration lays down personal rights for a higher cause, is that not what Jesus Himself did on the cross?

Collaboration is worth the fight and the surrender. When we each bring our best to the table and combine it all together, creating something new, everyone wins. The kingdom of God needs us to get over ourselves and our differences, remember that the vision we are united in is not ours, but Gods, and come together for His glory.

The kingdom needs us to collaborate.

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Collaboration occurs in community and calls us to celebrate with champagne, or Coca-Cola Classic 🙂 How many “C’s” can you use in one sentence?

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