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Two Minds are Better than One

Two Minds are Better than One

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

Though some days we may wish we lived in a vacuum, the reality is that our lives are built on collaboration and communication. The world would not operate if everyone functioned with complete independence- our daily tasks heavily depend on the actions and ideas of other people. 

In a workplace, it is especially important that employees collaborate on projects and assignments in order to ensure quality and efficiency. Combining expertise, ideas, and motivation, collaboration allows workers to produce at a much higher level than they could do solely as individuals, making it a very important component of any workplace.

Consider the following scenario: each employee in a company has one idea on how to complete a project. If two people work together on the project, they now have two ways they can combine their ideas to approach the project. Three people would have six possible combinations of ideas; four would have twenty-four, and so on. Continuing with this pattern, if all of the workers at KFG were to put their heads together on a particularly difficult problem, we would devise 40,320 different ways to solve it. Though any one of us may not know how to correctly approach the problem, by combining our backgrounds and ideas, surely one combination of our methods would work. This concept is the true heart of collaboration- that since everyone has different areas of expertise, skill sets, and thought processes, having multiple people work together doesn’t simply append their abilities into one larger but still static person but instead compounds them into a metaphorical organism of ideas, continuously growing and developing towards a more perfect solution.

Collaboration doesn’t simply help to solve problems more effectively; it also has a positive psychological effect on its participants. Personally, when I work with a partner or a group, I am motivated to work more intensely and efficiently, ensuring that I don’t waste anyone else’s time or inconvenience them by being unprepared or behind schedule. People can be more confident in their work knowing that they have the support and reviews of teammates. As long as strong levels of trust, communication, and honesty are maintained in a group, members should be highly invested in their project, fulfilling a need for personal accountability in a motivated group.

Moreover, it is essential that important information be shared in a group. If one person should become sick or unexpectedly leave, it is important that someone else is generally familiar with their roles and functions so that they can go fulfilled. This is especially important in July, as many people are away on vacation throughout the month. Having worked together on assignments and projects before the vacation, the remaining team members should be more than equipped to continue the responsibilities of their far-off counterpart.

Collaboration is undeniably an essential component for a successful business. By working together, coworkers foster creativity, inspire personal accountability, and ensure that important information and functions don’t solely rest with one person. Though in some cases it is possible for people to succeed at accomplishing things by themselves, teamwork and collaboration consistently trump individual efforts, a lesson that becomes more apparent every day when working in a business.

Paul Birch

Paul was a KIG intern during the summer of '16 where he earned himself the nickname "Pauly-B." In 2019, he graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor's degree in Risk Management and Actuarial Science. He is now an actuarial analysis at Aetna, where they probably just call him "Paul."

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