Collaboration

Have you ever gotten tired or fed up with the over use of a word?

What I mean is a word that is overused, used pervasively, used frequently, always used, used too much, used, used, used … get the picture?

One such word that comes to mind is collaboration. It seems many folks have forgotten what synonyms are and use collaboration every time they coordinate an effort with another group, agency or person. It has reached the point where I mentally turn them off when I hear someone start to talk about their terrific and great collaboration with another entity.

Now don’t get me wrong — we need collaboration to get things done. People working together is critical to overall progress — that’s something some people in the political arena might keep in mind. All I ask is a bit of creativity when talking about doing things together — enough with the word collaboration!

OK, that’s off my chest and now let me give you an example of very good people coming together to work for the common good.

About a year ago, I entered into a discussion with J and H about holding cultural events at the middle school in Marshall. The administration backed us 100 percent and we met with some of the teaching staff to come up with a game plan. By the way, teachers are very special for what they do.

As our program progressed, J, H and I were responsible for bringing together a program for the middle school’s eighth-grade class. Teaming with citizens from around town, we had our initial program and it was a refreshing success. Our presenters were outstanding as they told their stories of coming to this area and the successes they have found here.

Shortly afterward, I was talking with someone about another event and it was mentioned to me that a couple other people should enter our conversation because they were doing a similar program. I don’t like duplicating efforts and a meeting was scheduled to talk with each other in the hopes we could work together for a common cause.

The conversation occurred and, guess what? We worked out a plan in which we could work together. Did they have to give up something? Yes! Did we have to give up something? Yes! But that’s called cooperation and it works!

It’s fun to collaborate — ugh, there’s that word — and to find a new way of accomplishing a task. In the same manner, you can find all sorts of working together/collaboration/partnering going on in many areas of life including the beverage industry.

One example that springs to mind is a local brewery that partners with a pig farmer to bring delicious pork to its taproom. Brau Brothers sends its spent mash to a farmer to feed to his pigs and the butchered pork goes to the brewery’s taproom for us to enjoy. A wonderful example of a symbiotic relationship that helps us further enjoy Old 56 — a stable and delicious light lager. I encourage you to pair a pork sandwich with it.

Another example of working together is a grape grower who sells grapes to a wine maker. Without the grape grower, there’s no wine — what a horrible thought! Without the wine maker, the grapes don’t get to fulfill their destiny. Many wineries source some of their grapes from off site including Grandview Valley Winery. It produces a very fine Cabernet Sauvignon with sourced grapes and it’s a fine example of people working together for a good cause.

Let’s not forget that wines come to us from many other countries and it takes a team effort for that to happen. Yellow Tail Riesling is an Australian wine with nice slightly sweet green apple taste and it’s so easy to sip with a nice salad. How does it get here? Because the winery works with an importer to get it to the states, a distributor gets it to the retail store and, voila! There it is for us to enjoy.

The same goes for a very tasty Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand named Ribbonwood. Much softer tasting than the before mentioned Riesling, its grapefruit and lemon flavors come to us because many people have combined their efforts to ensure we get to taste a wine made half a world away from us.

In the final analysis, it really doesn’t make any difference what you call this team effort — partnering, collaboration, working together or just someone saying to another person: “Hey! Let’s do this thing together!” The end result is normally better than the individual parts.

Well it seems I’ve talked myself away from being so abrasive about the over use of the word collaboration.

Let’s just work together.

Next week, let’s talk!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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