Discussion thus far on collaboration has been around best practices, what social scientists have found about collaborating, and the experience of common folks as we learn through reflection on action. Another source of insight is religious scripture. If you take the Golden Rule for instance, there’s plenty to be found in all the world’s major faith traditions that lends guidance to how we should engage with each other.
I came across the following this morning and thought it would be a good place to start:
Walk ye neath the shadow of justice and truthfulness and seek ye shelter within the tabernacle of unity.
– Baha’u’llah, The Tabernacle of Unity
An initial reading could suggest that justice and truthfulness are requisite actions if we’re to try collaborating with others. What are the implications of this? Well, for one, we need to be real. No lying and I’d say be as up front about your motives as possible. It’s fine to be motivated – but make sure they’re appropriately oriented (justice) and clear to others (truthfulness).
This doesn’t necessarily help us collaborate better if we hold different motives or more particularly, ways of pursuing the agreed upon goal. It is the second half of the passage which can lasso it all together: seek ye shelter within the tabernacle of unity. Unity would imply that among differences, there’s the contribution of different components for the well-being of the whole. It’s not uniformity. Collaboration among a group of individuals that all think and act the same begets pretty limited thinking and actions. Collaboration among a diverse group of individuals – who are united in their goals and methods – can draw upon diverse capacities and talents to achieve much more creative thinking and pursuits.
One of the neat things about scripture is that one can always find new meanings upon further reflection. For me, it requires going out and working with others, and then coming back to re-read what the scripture says – new insights are just a reflection away.