Have you ever seen that old Disney film, The Sword in the Stone? A young orphan named Arthur manages to pull a double-edged sword from the stone where it had been embedded for years. Sometimes, that is what working on a collaborative project feels like.
I thought about this over the past weekend when my daughter was trying to complete a group project for a college course, due on Sunday night. Her frustration was palpable as they worked to get it in on time, but several members had bald excuses for not pulling their weight. That’s an experience most of us have had. It’s always frustrating, because it puts the success of the project at risk.
The challenge of collaboration is that you’re working with people who have their own set of challenges with which they they must contend. Sometimes you, yourself, are in a position where you must ask others to pull a little harder because of unexpected obstacles you’ve encountered.
The rewards of collaboration mean you can accomplish so much more — complex, far-reaching and impactful projects not achievable by an individual. It’s the rare person who can pull a sword from a stone all on his or her own.
If you think about it, collaboration itself is a tool that can be likened to a mighty double-edged sword. One edge of the sword is built of trust and the other edge, responsibility. It’s only with the hilt of strong communication that you’re able to make that sword sing for the force of good.
Originally written for and published in the December 10 issue of the free weekly Beyond the Nest newsletter.