Top 10 Quotes on Collaboration: Great Sources for Inspiration

Top 10 Quotes on Collaboration: Great Sources for Inspiration
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Quotes on collaboration have been popping up everywhere. As companies move to collaborative software and websites, understanding the nature of collaboration is more and more vital to achieving success. By understanding the nature of collaboration, and challenges you might face while engaging in collaboration with others, you can circumvent some of the common problems that arise in collaboration with others. Below is a list of ten of the best quotes on collaboration for your consideration.

“Politeness…” Land on Collaboration

“Politeness is the poison of collaboration.” - Edwin Land

When collaborating with others, it is tempting to say that you like something, or that you think something is good, just to be polite. In reality, this does not advance the project or idea being collaborated on. Any collaborative project should reflect the will of all those involved. By holding in what you really think, for the sake of avoiding hurting someone else’s feelings, you destroy the opportunity for honest communication in a collaborative environment.

“Gang Up…” Stallkamp

“The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.” - Thomas Stallkamp

While it’s important not to be too polite when collaborating on a project, it’s also important to attack the problems that come up during the course of collaboration, rather than your collaborative partners. If you focus on trying to advance a position over and above all concern for the task you are trying to collaborate on, the collaboration will deteriorate.

“We Could Learn…” Anonymous

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“We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but we have to learn to live in the same box.” - Anonymous

You might not choose all of your team mates if you were to have put together the team yourself, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work with them and try to get along. The workforce is a diverse place and the sooner you learn how to deal with diversity in a collaborative environment, the smoother the collaboration will work.

“Individually…” Satoro

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” - Ryunosuke Satoro

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each individual in a collaboration brings with himself or herself unique characteristics, but when everyone is grouped together, all of those characteristics add up together and become something greater. If you look at the collaborative team as a whole, rather than a conglomerate of individuals, the collaboration will run more smoothly.

“Few Things in Life…” - Adams

“Few things in life are less efficient than a group of people trying to write a sentence. The advantage of this method is that you end up with something for which you will not be personally blamed.” - Scott Adams

If tasks are not divided up, and multiple people attempt to work on one task, then the result can be chaos. Even something as simple as writing a sentence becomes complex when multiple people are involved. When collaborating for effectiveness, it is best to divide the smaller tasks rather than to have every task collaborated on.

“Alone…” -Keller

457px-Helen Keller

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” - Helen Keller

When we act individually, whether with a political motivation, as part of our jobs, or as an artistic endeavor, we are limited by our weaknesses. For example, no matter how much you try, you cannot both tie your shoes and brush your hair at the same time - not effectively anyway! No matter how skilled an individual may be, he or she will still exhibit weaknesses based upon knowledge, strength, political and social pull, etc. By the same token, we all have strengths, and not everyone’s strengths are equal to one another. In this way, when banding together, weaknesses are minimized and strengths of all are accentuated.

“Gettin’ Good Players…” - Stengel

“Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.” - Casey Stengel

Remember the quote on the first page of this article about keeping focused on tackling the project and not one another? This is another quote that stresses the importance of playing together well as a team when collaborating on something. Team building is a great way to help collaborating members work well together and build a rapport. By focusing efforts on building an effective team in the beginning, you can circumvent future problems before they appear.

“The Purpose in Life…” - Gschwandtner

“The purpose of life is to collaborate for a common cause; the problem is nobody seems to know what it is.” - Gerhard Gschwandtner

This quote points out the importance of setting clear goals and objectives in a collaboration. Without clear goals, everyone’s own idea of what the goal should be will come to the forefront, thus breaking up the collaborative efforts. Be sure, before undergoing any collaborative effort, that clear objectives and goals have been defined at the outset.

“As you Navigate…” - Poehler

“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” -Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler is a well-known female comedian with surprisingly wise words to say about learning from others. No matter what your field, it helps to know what you’re good at, but it also helps to recognize what others are good at. If you surround yourself with people that inspire you and people who can help you achieve goals, you become even better at what you do.

Editor’s Note: Until recently our article opened with the well-known quote below. The quote is commonly attributed to Darwin, yet he never said it.

“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”

While this quote demonstrates quite well how necessary it is to collaborate with one another to survive, we moved it to the bottom of the list due to its shadowy origins. Anyone who knows where this quote comes from please comment!


  • Photo of Helen Keller in the Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons