The Value of Collaboration

As you know, this league year we are working our way through the AJLI value statements. So far we’ve discussed community, leadership, and diversity. This month, we’ll address the value of collaboration. The AJLI statement reads: We believe lasting societal change is achieved through both collaboration and meaningful disagreement. Living the value of collaboration inspires us to accomplish more together. Let’s break this down.

According to Miriam-Webster’s online dictionary, collaboration means to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

What is meaningful disagreement? Meaningful disagreement occurs among team members who agree on a project’s principles, can set their ego aside, and explore different viewpoints while keeping the goal in mind.

It all ties into our leadership philosophy of servant leadership: purpose over power. Servant leaders have the organization and other’s well-being in mind during the collaborative process. An ancient proverb that I believe says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” This collaborative process can be beneficial as a personal growth experience as well.

But how does this value play out in the league? Within JLOEB, collaboration is essential for several reasons:

First, no one should serve alone; everyone should be working on a team or with a friend.
Second, it helps the League leverage the skills and talents of our members.
Third, it trains our members to work in new areas and develop new skills.
And fourth, it truly brings us to better decisions with better outcomes.

You may ask, “What are we to be collaborating on?” The League is designed around committees. They are the fundamental unit of our organization.  It is here that collaboration starts. This is where you learn to work together to generate ideas and assign tasks. Each committee chair sits on a council where those ideas and status reports are shared. The council directors sit on a Management Team, which this year reports into the president. Those council directors listen to their committees and figure out where cross-committee collaboration does or should occur.

A work area where collaboration allows JLOEB to accomplish something bigger and better than we can do alone, is our relationship with CalSPAC. CalSPAC represents a coalition of 17 member Junior Leagues and over 10,000 women across the State of California. They advocate for legislation that supports local projects and communities in the areas of education, family support, health, human trafficking, and violence prevention. JLOEB’s Sr. SPAC – Erin Graffius and Jr. SPAC – Angela Wuerth have worked with CalSPAC to promote legislation in Sacramento and are also working to bring us Day at the Capitol in May.

So collaboration is close to the heart of the League. It’s how we work with our friends to do good in our community. It allows us to express our opinions, listen to others, and work toward consensus. Like the value statement says, it is inspirational; it can bring about societal change. We must merely be willing to focus on a common goal, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.