Did you know that the word collaboration comes from the Latin word “concerto” concert and harmony and from “concertare” to bring into agreement or sing together (as in con + cantare = to sing)?
I was raised on music – a well balanced mix from rock to pop and classics. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Moody Blues, Cat Stevens, Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky etc. A lot of time and money was spent on my “big C” cultural upbringing. I was indulged in many magical ballet performances by the local Performing Arts Council) and regularly dragged off to the open rehearsal sessions of the Durban Philharmonic Orchestra in the Durban City Hall.
What I really didn’t like was the instrument tuning and warming up that went on before a performance – to me it sounded like a cacophonous wailing. I needed the conductor to bring congruence and harmony to the clamor and commotion.
Our neighbors, were a family of musicians completely immersed in the world of classical music; they played in the orchestra, sang in choirs and taught music. Diana, one of the daughters, encouraged me to listen out for individual instruments, and to pick out the conducting elements (tempo, dynamics, cue-ing and articulation) as she had taught me to listen out for in Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”.
And then, as if by the wave of my very own baton I was skilled in aligning the instruments – discord became harmony! A symphony!
The word comes from the Latin “the Greek word “ “ +
Much of the interpersonal discord I have witnessed can be likened to the uncoordinated and un-conducted sounds of an orchestra warming up – much like the “forming” stage of a new team on a new project. Imagine you are a musician in a group of players where each musician thinks they know best and know what needs to be done (play what they have to play) when and how they want with little regard for the other musicians? Need I say more?
Achieving cross cultural collaboration must feel the same to a team, as an orchestra (and conductor) getting a standing ovation. It can only, happen when everyone; the leader(s) and team members pay finely tuned attention to the group and listen out for the individual “instruments” articulating their particular skills and talents in order to be instrumental in co-composing congruent collaboration.
This is cross-cultural competence; the ability to bring voices into agreement for conversational harmony. You want to play? Would you like to improve your skills? Contact me.