Family Can Provide Valuable Lessons On Collaboration

Family Can Provide Valuable Lessons On Collaboration

The CEO of The Energy Project talks about the valuable life lessons he has learned from his daughters.

Kyana Gordon
  • 9 june 2011

A recent post on Harvard Business Review brought to our attention how one’s family can teach valuable lessons about collaboration. The author, Tony Schwartz (CEO of The Energy Project) describes the advice and encouragement bestowed upon him by his two daughters. Below we have extracted a few key points that demonstrate the importance of shared family experiences when speaking about collaborative work relationships.

  • Schwartz’s daughter, Kate shared her experience of assistant directing a large-scale musical production of The Pirates of Penzance. A valuable aspect of working with the Artistic Director she shared was that he worked “with people whose creativity, intellect, and ability he believed in deeply. Once he’s made the decision to bring a person aboard, he never waivers in his confidence in that person’s gifts and brilliance. As a collaborator, you feel compelled to prove him right.”
  • Kate also learned how disagreements between two smart people should not end when one idea overrides another, instead discover together a third, better way.
  • Work with people you trust. It lies at the heart of collaboration, once it waivers so does the partnership. With his current venture Schwartz’s younger daughter, Emily is his editor. He trusts everything about her – from her discerning intelligence, to telling him exactly what’s on her mind, and their shared love for one another.
  • Knowing what can be produced collaboratively is more potent than working alone, and the united happiness and joy of mutual contributions are magical.
  • Discover the part of what someone says that is new, or provocative, or different.

We found this piece thought-provoking since the author looked at his own family and was able to gain some honest and valuable insight from their individual experiences. What lessons can we learn from our own families that can propel our current and future collaborations? Schwartz concluded:

“That’s the perspective I want to bring to all my collaborations. Yes, I respect you. Yes, I care about you. Yes, you have something unique to contribute.”

Harvard Business Review: What I’ve Learned About Collaboration From My Daughters

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