The Power of Partnerships: Two C’s of Working Better Together
I’m very excited to be working on the final editing and revisions for my book that’s due out this summer! Since I’m planning to self-publish, I’ve been learning as much about that process as I can, and this week I stumbled across a hidden jewel that applies not just in book writing but in all of leadership. Here it is (paraphrased from Chandler Bolt, best-selling author of six books, including Publish and Book Launch): ‘When writing a book, the purpose of working with an editor is to produce something that is better than you would have been able to create on your own.’
As my wife and I were walking our dogs yesterday, I told her about how I came across that piece of wisdom and how much it struck a chord with me. She agreed, and we discussed it at further length as we continued to walk, and the more we discussed it, the more examples I came across in my world. I want to share with you two key insights today that I gathered from Chandler’s wisdom: collaboration and compromise are necessary to the creation of great things, and that requires the humility to engage in both.
Key #1: The Necessity of COLLABORATION
The first key to understanding why partnerships are so powerful is in that sentence above, because (within reason) working with other people toward a common goal is going to produce better results than you would have achieved alone. We see this in education, where many classrooms today use the word collaboration to describe ways in which students work together on projects, in study groups, or to complete complex assignments. In these situations, students use their particular skill sets in combination with other students, and the results are of a higher quality than any individual student would have produced alone. Collaboration has become a bit of an education buzzword actually, both for students and for teachers, and the goal is always the same: raise the quality of work being done by combining the strengths (and thus also shoring up the weaknesses) of multiple people.
The same is true in family life, when both parents are working together for the good of the family. Now, please, don’t misunderstand me: I’m NOT bashing single parents. I know there are many, many single parents who do more and work harder and longer hours than they should have to, just for the sake of their children. I also know (and am thankful for) the many loving friends and family members who help single parents with logistical things, like picking kids up from school or running errands from time to time. And I believe all of these things further drive home my point: when there are two parents, a mother and father working together, that is when the family functions best. That’s why God designed it that way.
In the interest of full disclosure, let me give a little background into my own world: my parents divorced when I was in middle school, and we lived with my mom afterward. However, because of my parents’ love for us and their willingness to compromise, we also saw my father almost every day and we even still celebrated many holidays together. That is, my mom and dad continued to work together for the sake of their three children even though it was sometimes difficult and unusual. As an adult, I also am divorced and was a single parent for a time, as was my ex-wife. I am now remarried, as is my ex-wife, and the four adults involved all work together for the sake of our children. This is the type of collaboration that is necessary in our current divorce-heavy culture. And this leads to the second key here: having enough humility to compromise.
KEY #2: COMPROMISE requires humility
Any time you work in close contact with another adult, there will have to be compromise. In working on the final revisions of my book, I’ve asked my wife and a few other people to go through and make editing suggestions. One of the people who did, a lady I call my second mom, emailed me with a list of over fifty different edits that needed to be made. And in her email, she made a joke about how I’ll probably never ask for her help again because of the number of mistakes. I was sure to email her back and let her know that I was actually very grateful to her for the suggestions that she made and that I took no offense at how many mistakes she found.
We saw this idea in my house again this weekend when my wife and I were rebuilding a garden in our backyard. We built a garden last weekend, but the quality was not very high, and it became obvious that we needed to rethink our plan. So she went and talked with her parents, and they came up with a much better design. As we built the garden beds, moved the dirt, and built a better fence, multiple small changes were necessary in order to accommodate the reality of our situation: our backyard was not as flat as we’d thought, and we have two large dogs who needed to be kept out of the beds. In the end, thanks to suggestions and hard work from my wife, her mom, and her dad, the final product is somewhat different and also much better than what we had originally done last week and what was intended to be done yesterday. This wouldn’t have been possible if we had stubbornly stuck to the plan drawn up on paper, instead of being willing to make a few changes.
Conclusion: working together (within reason) always produces better results than we would be able to achieve on our own! So, let us have the humility to compromise and collaborate with others so that, together, we can produce things of better quality and lasting value.
Action Step: ask someone for help with a project you’re working on, and be willing to implement at least one of their suggestions even if they’re radically different than what you had originally intended.
Don’t forget to be looking out for my upcoming book on leadership! In the meantime, I hope you’ve enjoyed the first chapter that I emailed out to everyone last week. If you’d like to partner with me in sharing buzz about the book ahead of time, please let me know. Thanks, and God bless!