Our housing and employer forums, reverse job fairs and family meetings connect us to the community in new, important and interesting ways. I gained new insight into these connections at a recent Charities Review Council conference called Radical Collaboration. One of the nuggets I gleaned from this rich event was this:
When we are faced with complex problems or issues and no solutions are apparent, radical collaboration can provide paths.
If you know where you’re going, it’s a partnership. In radical collaboration, it’s all made up as you go. There’s no road map; the road changes all the time.
Radical Collaboration at Work
Radical collaboration requires the following:
- Passion to change.
- Broad, inclusive thinking that is mission-based, not goal-directed.
- Finding “the leader within” – that is, letting go of individual ego and control in favor of creating solutions. (More on “the leader within” in a future blog post!)
- Following the energy.
- Relationship building, person by person.
- Reframing failure.
I feel affirmed to be able to reframe hard issues that we are working on as requiring radical collaboration, and to know that pathways may arise as we work together.
I belong to the Council of Champions for Northfield Promise, an organization working to build a culture of collaboration and shared accountability among community partners to ensure all our children achieve their full potential. I have the opportunity to ensure that the voices and needs of kids with disabilities are a part of the conversation.
At LBSA, we are working to solve affordable housing issues in the community, again ensuring that people with disabilities are a part of the conversation. Answers are not readily available and we sometimes chafe at not knowing what the answers are. This concept of radical collaboration brings promise for the journey. Do we have all the necessary voices at the table or in the room?
Employment for people with disabilities is another area where we are working to create connections – new, radical connections that will help to smash stereotypes and provide opportunities for people to contribute as ordinary citizens.
Respite and family support is another area where the road to answers continues to emerge. Our family support events have been a small drop in the bucket in this area.
There’s lots of work to do, and a role for every person in the community. Your passion and your unique gifts help to define that role. We need every person to contribute as they are able to the conversation:
- Provide monetary support for the journey.
- Share your passions, talents, and unique ideas and perspectives to shape the journey.
- Be a community guide – open doors and opportunities for others who don’t have your unique connections.
As you identify the leader within you, you will identify how you can contribute and make a difference. Don’t let our definitions determine what you can and can’t do. Dream big and join the conversation. Be a radical collaborator.