What does it take to work together well? What do you think?

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by Ruth Wallsgrove
Milton Keynes, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom,
Created on 29 Jul 2017

I would like to explore intelligent co-operation - how we work together in pairs, small groups, big teams to create and grow, ultimately to learn about ourselves. I have been drafting some sections/ blog posts/ blocks of experience and theory, and thought I would post them here and see how it works. Explore what we can use CC for - and also see if anyone else would like to intelligently co-operate on this....



Sat, 07/29/2017 to Mon, 12/31/2018



Only if I am aware of how I am – my habitual ways of responding, my blind spots, what I do (and don’t) bring to a working relationship – can I also be aware of others. And understand how much they bring me. 

Recall a time when you had that feeling that someone else really ‘gets’ you: they understand what you are saying, they appreciate you. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.

We are set up as minds in individual bodies. All of us have complex back stories, experiences and beliefs. Whatever our personalities, our preferences for direction, we all are a mixture of right side and left side, known and unknown, conventional and different. This means we cannot always guarantee to be understood. Some people don’t figure us out, no matter how hard we (or they) try.

But for most of us, not being understood is desperate. If we cannot connect, we are doomed to loneliness. And loneliness is a killer.

The pleasure of connecting surely goes back to the savannah. You cannot raise a child on your own; if you get sick or injured, you’ll starve. For a human, being abandoned meant death (and of course often it still does). Knowing that other people will be there for you is life. So anything that conveys connection and appreciation is fundamental to us.

Sometimes, our strange modern belief-systems forget this, and stress individuals above collectivity, as if an individual could survive on their own. But this is nonsense.

We can make connections through the conventional and the habitual – sharing the same football team or musical taste, for example. It’s great to walk into a bar the other side of the world, and find that someone else likes Top Gear, or fishing.

For some people, perhaps that is enough, most of the time – I am not sure. But for anyone aiming to learn about themselves and build with other people, we are looking for much more. We want to be understood when we talk about the unfamiliar or the unconventional. When we explore left side knowledge; or attempt something new.

Recognition – mutual recognition - is at the heart of intelligent co-operation.

I have a colleague who feels recognition is what people really seek, and that status, or a title, is just a poor substitute, or something you crave only when you’re immature and haven’t yet learnt better.  Unfortunately, there are still people in workplaces who find this hard to get.  To them, to be acknowledged as being valuable must involve where you sit and what meetings you go to and what’s on your business card. That looks like a vicious spiral downwards to me, because what does that say to people without the titles or a seat on the top floor about how much you value them? 

I am also struck sometimes about how it’s made so binary – you’re either important or you’re not; you’re either better at everything than the people you manage – or...  Ideas of strengths and weaknesses, and about complementing each other’s less strong sides, seem peculiarly hard for some people.

I believe recognition must go hand in hand with self-awareness. Only if I am aware of how I am – my habitual ways of responding, my blind spots, what I do (and don’t) bring to a working relationship – can I also be aware of others. And understand how much they bring me. 



The photo is of my father's (only) cousin Betty, the oldest person in my family and a very fine woman