Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Selfish Fear Kills Creative Teamwork

"A selfish man is a thief "
-José Martí

Collaboration is part of team success. To reap the benefits of team, we must be able to effectively utilize the value found in the sum of the parts. Not simply working with each other, but truly adding value to the output of the team by creating a unified, well vetted, aggregate composition. Too often the idea of working in teams is reduced to a functional concept. Each person walks away with her piece of work and returns later to contribute an offering to the powerpoint altar. It's an old school, industrial, division of labor, view for working in groups. It misses significant value. Teams are a much different concept. Teams have a much greater value.


The output of teamwork is a unified, well vetted, aggregate composition.


True collaboration realizes the full abilities of the group and uses them to aggregate a product that is truly greater than the sum of it's parts. It's more then a division of labor. In fact, collaboration realizes very little true division at all. It surely requires individual responsibility and execution, but it doesn't limit how the team can interact with each piece of the process. Everything is open to input, criticism, support, and creativity. Everything is on the table.

So how do we create a collaborative team or environment? One of the greatest keys to success is forcing ourselves to make our thoughts and work more observable. We do this by being more visual. Visual work creates a focus point. It makes the composition tangible and, in doing so, allows others to collaborate. Being illustrative with figures, drawings, sketches, and documents, forces things out of the siloed mind, creating clarity and conversation. Unfortunately, many of us fear being visual and wait until things are polished, developed, or finished. Or possibly we aren't confident in our ability to communicate visually. That is, we might not think we can draw, draft, or paint. It's a selfish fear. A fear the deprives our ideas and our clients of the best outcomes based in our need for comfort and security.


Our fear of thinking visually is a selfish fear. We must become more observable in our work.


Stop worrying. Start doing. Start sharing.

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