Danger mouse, dockers and why collaborative solidarity trumps competition

Although I’ve tried to deny it for many years I think the inevitable is happening…

Slowly but surely and in a bunch of different ways I’m turning into my dad.

Recently whilst watching TV with the kids and regardless of whether it’s the Wonder Pets, Pokemon or Peppa Pig I find myself saying stuff like…

“This isn’t as good as Danger Mouse”

or

“This ain’t a patch on Fraggle Rock”

or

“Really!? You call this formulaic dross entertainment!? You need to watch He Man and the Masters of the Universe! Get out of my ‘ouse!”

Actually I’ve never said the last one as I still want to retain the relatively pleasant environment in our house but the point remains…

My old man’s references were different (replace Danger Mouse with, I dunno, Bill & Ben) but the words were the same.

Whilst he was and still is a relatively positive forward thinking person there are parts of his childhood he used to cherish. I reckon I’m the same.

However I assumed a few years ago that in one aspect of our lives we were fundamentally different.

You see my dad was a docker. He was part of the union. He was part of a band of brothers….a tight knit bunch which,right or wrong, stuck by each other.

My dad had a sense of solidarity.

In the early days of setting up the business, and having started out on my dining room table with only a laptop for company, I incorrectly and naively assumed that solidarity didn’t exist in the business or advisory community. You see my perspective was limited by previously only working for large organisations which had a sense of solidarity if you were ‘in’ (and a loss of it if you were ‘out’).

However the reality is I couldn’t have been more wrong.

To have a sense of solidarity all you need is people, people who understand the power of collaboration instead of competition and are driven by the same values and ethics. You need to be part of a group of people who, even if they go about it in different ways, broadly want the same things out of life.

I’ve found that solidarity isn’t about whether you’re employed (or self employed) but is more about what you stand for, what you believe and what you’re trying to achieve rather than who you’re employed by or whether you’re a member of a particular ‘gang’.

I’ve also found that having solidarity doesn’t mean that you agree on every topic. In actual fact often it makes more sense if you don’t.

Solidarity for me means just one thing….

Working together as and when you can to achieve a greater goal.

For me a sense of solidarity naturally leads towards opportunities to collaborate.

Sometimes this collaboration consists of a sharing ideas, books to read or podcasts to listen to.

Sometimes these collaborations are more formal. For example the relationship between me and our clients (or the relationships we have with partner businesses who use AE in a Box)

and

Sometimes collaborations develop into relationships which sprout new businesses…..something I definitely didn’t expect to happen when I was first sitting at my dining room table.

However as much as I like to collaborate there’s one type of person I don’t feel solidarity with.

People who live in a purely competitive ‘dog eat dog’ world. They may be successful. They may be happy…..but I’d rather live in a world where collaborative solidarity trumps competition every single time.

I firmly believe that in the world today where so many resources (including information) is so abundant and we are not only locally, but nationally and globally connected we are now all need to work in a far smarter way.

For me that way is must consist of finding common connections with people I know, like and trust and forming mutually beneficial collaborations.

However I might be wrong. It might be that I’m just too idealistic. The world might still be ‘dog eat dog’ and I don’t see it!

What do you think?

and while you ponder whether collaboration or competition is the order of the day I’m off to tell Charlotte and Sophie how much better TV was in the 80’s…..

…..now where did I put my A team box set?