Teamwork: Collaboration, sharing, and all the stuff we should stop talking about and just do.



Spain La Liga Soccer, originally uploaded by NotiZulia.

OK? Last time I talked about collaboration here it was right after Spain won the World Cup and I used them as an example. Now I’m revisiting it a few weeks after most of the La Furia Roja played against each other in El Clásico. Barcelona embarrassed Madrid, smashing them 5-0. Barca played true to their traditional form: tight, cohesive teamwork, amazing passing, and as a unit. Madrid couldn’t cope. (Here’s a great infographic looking at passing via Xavi vs. Xabi.

Enough about El Clásico, what does Messi and Xavi’s embrace have to do with librarians collaborating (or not)? This picture sort of represents the best and worst of librarians collaborating.

We talk a big game of sharing and openness, but how much do we actually practice? There are some who really embrace the open culture. Will tell you anything you need and more. This is especially important when you’re working on a group project and everybody needs to be on the same page, but that also requires everybody to trust one another. That is, I’m finding, a a tall order. For me, lack of trust is based in my own insecurities, control-freak tendencies, and past experience of being burned. BUT! (And I’m really trying to work on this…) Past experiences should caution but not totally hinder/block going forward. You need to have trust and faith in your team as much as you want them place their trust and faith in you. Otherwise, those roadblocks are clear indicators that there’s no trust which most likely also translates into no respect.

Of course, the other thing with being part of a team is that you need all parts to be together. Going back to Barcelona (and even the Spanish National Team), they play in a style that requires the whole team to be a unit. Lots of passing. Lots of communication. The Madrids (or Chelseas), are not as cohesive. They have lots of big, expensive names, but don’t do much collectively. Think about a library full of (eww) rockstar librarians. If everybody is trying to be the big name and take the lead, it’s not going to work as much as if people put their egos down and work together.

This sort of goes back to my own glories on the pitch this weekend. (Disclosure: I’m a pretty awful left-back, but I try.) My team was missing our key midfielders, and the opposing team had a strong set of attacking midfielders and strikers. My team won 5-0 though because we really communicated and played well together. Now if only I could do that in the professional arena.

Leave a Reply