In ‘The Future of Competition’, authors C.K. Prahalad and Venkat Ramaswamy proposed that value will be increasingly co-created by the firm and the customer, rather than being created entirely inside the firm. A chapter in ‘Spontaneous Evolution’ by Bruce Lipton presents a strong case for how Collaboration and not Competition is the way forward. C.K. Prahalad’s ‘Innovation Sandbox’ states that to have breakthrough innovations, companies “must not work in isolation”. Stephen Shapiro blogs that Competition followed by Collaboration “gives a richer solution in the end”. Various spiritual teachings and channelled messages indicate that the New Age Guru is not a single person, but the ‘Sangha’ or collective.
How is any of this relevant to our daily lives? The bottom line is that we do not live solitary lives. We interact with family, friends, peers and colleagues, bosses and employees, clients and customers and so on. In all cases, there is a coming together of people. Each of these associations may serve varying objectives – but they all involve interpersonal dynamics. Just like an evolved, thinking mind accepts the growing evidence of the benefits of co-operation, the intuitive heart also celebrates harmonious togetherness.
And yet, on a day to day basis, we often struggle to make these relationships and interactions smooth, constructive and joyful.
The nature of my work has given me substantial experience in collaborating with other individuals. Several years back, I began to take EFT centric workshops. EFT has a variety of application areas, including personal growth and leadership coaching. So gradually, I began to get invitations from other facilitators, to incorporate my modules into their workshop. As the circle of like-minded facilitators, coaches and healers grew, several collaborative projects such as new workshops, articles, books, meditations and other processes have emerged.
I would like to share my significant learnings from all this experience, by comparing these associations with a patchwork quilt. Anyone visiting North Main Road, in Koregaon Park, Pune, cannot help but notice the gorgeous, colourful wall hangings strung up for sale on the street.
1. If you look closely, you will see that every individual patch on the quilt has its own unique identity. It is whole, complete and beautiful by itself.
2. Incorrect use of thread or stitches can make the coming together look painful. But when the art of joining is understood, harmonious bridges connect seemingly incongruous pieces.
3. New magic becomes possible. The interconnections create a whole new offering – that would not have been possible by either of the pieces alone.
4. Sometimes the pieces stitched together appear to be misfits or contrasts. But as the quilter shuffles the combinations around, a larger picture comes together. Gradually, as the quilt moves towards completion, even the differences contribute towards a richer whole.
5. The combinations that are possible are endless. Not only in terms of numbers (how many patches are woven together) but also their placement.
6. Every quilt that emerges has its own place in the world. It has its own audience and customer. And this patronage may or may not be a part of the existing patronage that each individual patch enjoys.
7. Keeping freedom and flexibility in mind at the outset, the stitching can be done in a way that enables easeful separation as and when required. This way, the pieces are free to again serve individually or to form fresh combinations.
In closing, here is a short story I had read somewhere: A carpet weaver is complaining to God about how difficult his life is. God finally asks him about what his carpet looks like when he is at work. The weaver replies that it is a tangled mess of colour and knots. “And what happens when you come across to the other side?” asks God. “It looks beautiful and complete.” replies the weaver. So God tells him, “That’s how it is with your life. When you cross over and see it from my side, you will realize how rich and beautiful it actually is. How every knot helped to create something valuable.”
If we can open our mind to the possibilities of seeing things differently, we allow new magic to emerge. Respecting our own identity, as well as that of the others – we can create new artistry together. Instead of seeing our selves as apart, we could begin to see our self as a part of the larger whole.
Related Article: Exploration of Identity