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4 TedTalks on Collaboration and Why It’s Important

Collaboration is the ability to work with others to solve a problem, and it’s a skill expected of people of all ages and backgrounds. A kindergartener is expected to work with their classmates harmoniously, just like the CEO of a company is required to work with others to solve company-related issues.

The ability to collaborate is an essential skill that will support your success in your chosen career. Our situational judgment test, Casper, assesses for 10 aspects of social intelligence and professionalism, and collaboration is one of those 10 aspects. In order to better understand what collaboration means and how to cultivate the skill, we have put together four inspiring and helpful TedTalks. Watch these TedTalks and take note of the four keys to collaboration below.

Collaboration is Humble

Cultivating collaboration: don’t be so defensive (TedX Santa Cruz)

Part of being an effective collaborator is the ability to accept feedback. This is not always easy, however, and we can find ourselves feeling defensive. With humor and empathy, former judge and collaborative workplace expert Jim Tamm talks about the power of collaboration and the toxicity of defensiveness in the workplace and beyond. In this TedTalk Tamm discusses ways to create a personalized warning system of defensiveness — a great way to lean into greater teamwork with others.

Key Quote: “There is nothing that will help you become more effective at resolving conflict and building collaboration more than better managing your own defensiveness.”

Collaboration is Community

The power of collaboration (TEDxABQWomen)

The City of Albuquerque’s Arts & Culture Director, Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez speaks about the importance of collaboration in accomplishing tasks that can be insurmountable without tapping into the skills and expertise of your community. She talks about five key insights for successful collaboration, and offers signs to look for that reveal your joint effort is working.

Key Quote: “Holding tight is very safe and very small, you never know what’s going to happen when you release an idea to a group…with the right partners it leads to bigger and better things.”

Collaboration is Curious

How to turn a group of strangers into a team (TedSalon)

Within collaborative teams, you will likely have teammates who would have different ways of looking at a problem and different ideas for a solution. While it’s comfortable to remain stuck in our own thought processes, it’s more collaborative to lean into other folks’ differences and get curious about their approach. Amy Edmondson, scholar and professor at Harvard Business School, studies “teaming”, the concept of working together to quickly solve a problem, often for a short period of time. In this TedTalk Edmondson talks about “teamwork on the fly”, and what it takes to urgently solve a problem as a team when you have no prior experience working together.

Key Quote: “It’s hard to learn if we already know…and so we’ve got to remind ourselves…to be curious.”

Collaboration is Open-Minded

The power of collaboration (MartindaleBrightwood)

Collaboration is a skill that can be learned, and like a muscle, the more you exercise the skill the easier it becomes. In this virtual TedTalk, Ashley Little, PhD., talks about the importance of collaboration in all walks of life. Dr. Little offers five insights, including focusing on teamwork and being willing to share your ideas.

Key Quote: “When we try to stay in control of an idea we are thinking small.”

Now that you understand why collaboration is important, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice. Find ways to collaborate with your peers and colleagues, and take note of the difference it makes in your relationships and ability to problem solve.

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