Thoughts on Collaboration or All Roads Lead to the Beatles
I just got done watching this awesome doc, Composing the Beatles Songbook: Lennon and McCartney 1966-1970, on the latter part of the songwriting collaboration between Lennon and McCartney. It got me thinking about what an interesting beast collaboration can be and also about the conditions that support creativity.
I would never claim to be any type of an expert on the inner workings of the Beatles at this time in their career but a few things are plain to see for me: (1) this was a time of great stress and pressure for the individual members of the band (2) they had experienced a relative degree of failure in terms of public acceptance of their work (e.g. Magical Mystery Tour a bit of a bust, comparisons to Jesus etc…) and (3) this was a time of explosive creativity and innovation…easily my favourite period in their history…hmmmm…stress + failure = explosive creativity and innovation?
I think the message that I get from this reflection, and the parallel that I can draw when looking inside our own organization is this: when individuals learn how to work together (and see the successful outcomes in this work), when they have confidence in what they are doing (a by-product of earlier success) and when they have a clear purpose, I think that a real resiliency is developed.
As leaders, we need to shine a light on the successful collaborative practices that are going on inside our classrooms and hallways (however big or small). Appreciative inquiry provides a wonderful framework to find and honour this collaboration. We need to provide opportunities to cultivate collaboration whether it be through classroom setup, timetabling co-planning etc.. and we need to always bring the focus back to what matter most….kids.
Like any relationship, the inner-workings of our school communities can be filled with times of stress and times of failure. It is imperative that we celebrate each other’s successes and maintain a clear focus on what is working to improve learning opportunities for our students.