Collaboration, especially for women

Kara Powell | Aug 15, 2011

Im a huge fan of collaboration. We will never change kids lives without working together. Thats true in your youth ministry, thats true in your city, thats true in our country, and thats true in our world.

Thats a big part of why I am very excited about being a guest blogger for YMWomen as it launches. Some days I tend to think women are often better collaborators than men. But then I think about an interesting insight from Janet Hagberg in her book, Real Power. She describes women in leadership like lobsters in a pail. As one lobster starts to climb its way out of the pail, other lobsters in the pail who also want to climb up, end up climbing on top of that first lobster. As a result, the first lobster tumbles back down. This vicious process keeps repeating itself, with no lobsters ultimately being able to escape the pail.

I thought about that lobster in a pail imagery as I read this brief blog in the Harvard Business Review. While obviously geared toward for-profit companies, it makes some great points that women in leadership should notice:

  • Collaboration has intangible benefits.
  • The new era of social networking makes collaboration more possible.
  • Collaboration deserves to be a priority.

So as I think about application to my own life, Ill pose some questions to you that Im wondering about myself:

  • What women do I know who live locally who I can collaborate with?
  • What would we gain by collaboration?
  • What might we lose?
  • How can I make collaboration more of a priority?

While I am continuing to learn more about collaboration, of this I am sure: the Kingdom is furthered as we collaborate together.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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