The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Perspective: In the ballpark

Catch a glimpse of the power of collaboration

On a balmy night last summer, I noticed our Durham [N.C.] Bulls pitcher throwing high, and I sensed trouble. Sure enough, six runs that inning and an early exit.

I moaned knowingly when our shortstop took an extra step on the relay and killed a double play. I explained to my son a left-handed hitter’s advantage in bunting and forecast a hit-and-run.

It dawned on me that I know baseball. I know its rules, strategy and lingo. Thanks, no doubt, to a father who spent many hours at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. As for other sports, well, I’m still halfway lost while watching soccer and utterly clueless in games like lacrosse. This is, of course, a metaphor for modern life. I know a few things well, but as technology advances, information pours in, and our economy and politics go global, my field of cluelessness expands daily. I earn a living using tools that I barely understand. I own equipment that I can’t repair and employ people I rarely see.

And yet life seems to work. How? Through collaboration. Other people fill in my gaps. They do what I can’t. I return the favor. None of us needs to know it all. It helps to have some expertise, but the critical ingredient in any organization’s success is collaboration: people working together.

The key to collaboration isn’t skill but a desire to engage others, a willingness to share praise, humility of attitude, transparency of motivation, respect and truth.

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