Collaborating for Co-Creation as the Goal
Working with members of a family and trying to keep them engaged and aligned towards common goals can be both challenging and rewarding at the same time.
While many family situations can already seem complex on the surface, when you go just a little bit deeper, they often seem even more complicated.
It can take a lot of work, or labor, to make progress, and this week we’re going to look at a couple of take-offs from the “labor” aspect to help us see some ideas in new ways.
Things Don’t Just Happen by Themselves
Regular readers may have noticed that I like to harp on the fact that important things do not simply occur, they take effort and intention.
Now, if you wanted to summarize “effort and intention” in one word, you could do worse than arriving at the word “work”.
We’re back in the land of “labor” again, which happens to be a key root word of the verb “collaborate”, where the “co” brings in the concept of working together with at least one other person.
When talking about the challenges of working with members of a family for the common good of that family, collaboration is typically at the top of my list of good ideas to help surmount such challenges.
Allow me to elaborate on this.
Wait, There’s “Labor” Again!
Yes, indeed, I snuck in another word with “labor” smack dab in the middle of it again; seems like work is never far away.
In fact, the similarities in the words “elaborate” and “collaborate” are what launched me into this blog idea in the first place.
And, as has occurred in the past, a meditation recording is at the root of this idea.
I’m not sure if my hearing is going, but while listening to a session one morning, the speaker said “elaborate” and for some reason “collaborate” bounced around my head before I realized that that wasn’t the word I’d heard.
The Verb Versus the Adjective
Now my mind started jumping around (this is NOT how an ideal meditation session goes) and I ruminated about the verb elaborate (“elabo-RATE”) versus the adjective (“elabo-RUT”).
But it eventually calmed down again and I got to wondering how these words, elaborate and collaborate, might be useful in examining how families can do a better job of making sure that they’re engaged and aligned around how to best transition their business, or their wealth, from one generation to the next.
The fact that they both have “labor” as their root, and that I harp on the fact that this requires work, had me thinking I might be on to something.
What About the “E” Versus the “Co”
Let’s look at the difference the prefixes make, maybe that can give us some clues.
Elaborate can be both a transitive or intransitive verb, and explaining that is beyond my pay grade and a perfect chance to remind readers that my elementary schooling was all in French.
But Merriam-Webster gives the following definitions:
- To expand something in detail
- To work out in detail
- To produce by labor
I like the way that “work” and “labor” both show up, and I’ll come back to the inclusion of “expand” later too.
Collaborate, on the other hand, is all about:
- To work jointly with others or together
- To cooperate with….
So because it is important that decisions affecting a family’s wealth transition be made while including those family members, a spirit of collaboration makes plenty of sense.
That is sometimes easier said than done, though. But how about adding in an element of elaboration to it?
Allow me to elaborate on that, so I can model this a bit.
If you ask for someone’s ideas and opinions, don’t just stop them or interrupt them after a few words. Ask them to continue, to elaborate and expand for you, so that you can truly understand not just what they are saying, but also why. Hear them out.
Everyone’s Ideas > Anyone’s Ideas
When collaboration results in co-creation, you will discover that everyone’s ideas are better than anyone’s ideas.
And a key to doing that properly is to take the time to actually hear and understand those ideas, from everyone, by asking them to elaborate on them.
You may even discover some simple solutions, that aren’t necessarily very elaborate!