I don’t think anyone can really say when collaboration starts but I think we can all agree that it starts well before we enter the workforce. Most discussions around collaboration today have pertained to the enterprise, but we start to work with and communicate with people far earlier than that. Why don’t we talk about collaboration and teamwork more in high schools, colleges, and universities? Heck, we can even start before that can’t we? Our backgrounds, where we came from, and how we were brought up dramatically affect our collaborative abilities and desires. Those who come from families of sharing and went to schools that encouraged teamwork and collaboration are more likely to bring these concepts with them into the workforce. The opposite is true as well. If sharing and collaborating was not something instilled in us through families and educational institutions then it’s probably not something we will immediately gravitate to in the enterprise.
Of course when we throw in the corporate dynamics of money, power, internal politics and the general economy then we have a very different situation. I just wonder how our backgrounds and environments affect how we collaborate and if this might be something we will start to teach more formerly. It’s interesting how people have the ability to adapt, learn, and change based on their environments isn’t it? How do you think we can encourage workplace collaboration BEFORE employees enter the workforce? Can we predict collaborative behaviors?