Collaboration: The Model That Works in the 21st Century By Dr. Paula Fellingham

To best address our growing social, political, and economic problems, I believe humanity needs to incorporate the Collaboration Model in the 21st Century, rather than continue with the age-old Dominance Model, if we are to move away from poverty and war and toward prosperity and peace.
The Collaboration Model has as its highest priority the caring for people. Its focus is the creation of mutually beneficial relationships.
Simply stated, the Dominance Model is about top-down control and the Collaboration Model is about creating healthy, sustainable relationships. The first is based on the need to dominate and control; the second is based on the ability to trust and collaborate.
Historically, humanity has been subjected most often to the Dominance Model. Why? Because power and riches usually go to those who dominate, whereas trusting collaborators are generally open, vulnerable, and risk being dominated by their partners.
Since the Dominance Model is top-down, like nation over nation, religion over religion, man over woman, examples include any relationship or system where domination occurs. Since domination has been a consistent theme throughout history, those of us living in the 21stCentury can easily look back and agree that this model is not conducive to peace. On the contrary, the Dominance Model causes, rather than discourages, conflict and war.
I believe at this critical time in history the world needs more people who are willing to create collaborative relationships based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Additionally, more equalitarian relationships (relationships based on equal rights) are needed today in our families, in our businesses, and in our governments. Those who understand and practice these models will surge forward successfully, and those who do not, will not.
As with most things that are beautifully simple, collaboration begins with our thoughts, our attitudes, and the questions we ask ourselves.
Those who think abundantly ask, “How can I help you?” and/or “How can we help each other?” before asking, “What’s in it for me?” They who ask such questions have the best chance of succeeding with the Collaboration Model in their personal relationships and in their businesses.
People who genuinely desire to create mutually beneficial relationships authentically seek to create win-wins. The good news is that those who aren’t naturally inclined to think abundantly can easily be taught to do so. It’s a matter of wanting to learn a better way of being, then acquiring the tools and practicing until old “dominance” thoughts, habits, and patterns are changed.
Succeeding with the superior Collaboration Model is about being “others-centered” rather than “self-centered”. Others-centered leaders work to find ways to make life better for those in their circles of influence. Self-centered leaders work to find ways to make their own lives easier and better. Their genuine concern for the welfare of others is low or non-existent. Through the ages, benevolent leaders have been revered and dominant leaders have been feared.
One of the things I learned from my friend Riane Eisler (“Roadmap to a New Economics”) is that if we are to create new, more sustainable and equitable relationships and systems that have the power to dissolve anger, discontent, and inequality worldwide, we must discuss the roots of the problems. We must go deep into matters that statisticians, theorists, and conventional economic analyses often ignore. We must discuss basic values and human needs that are often minimized or ignored in the Domination Model that prevails, in varying degrees worldwide, across all “isms” of government (capitalism, socialism, communism) and across all types of relationships and businesses.
A healthy, open discussion about values and human needs is prerequisite to moving the world from the prevailing Dominance Model to the superior, and much needed, Collaboration Model. Since we are co-creators of our problems (as co-inhabitants on this planet) it behooves us to discuss solutions together.
The first step to creating Global Collaboration might be cross-country discussions about how individuals and nations can collaborate for mutual benefit. We’re talking about developing partnerships on a massive scale. Can this be done? Absolutely! Why will it work? Because at the end of the day the Human Family does care about the same things: prosperity and peace.
So to all who believe that creating mutually beneficial relationships are superior to top-down control… to those who believe that caring for people should be a high priority for lawmakers, let’s dialogue.
Let’s begin by talking about which basic values and human needs should be part of a society based on the Collaboration Model.
Caring (by definition) suggests we consider all life as valuable. It follows, then, that the life of a child is far more valuable than stocks or bonds. And if we believe that our children and families are more valuable than financial instruments, our economic policies and practices should reflect that. Societies should insist on practices that encourage health and good education for all. Policies created should encourage such things as individual and national productivity; financial and economic sustainability.
Are not our values skewed when massive money is spent on warfare and rockets while masses of people suffer because their basic needs are not met?
If we believe that the real wealth of the world lies in the contributions of humanity, then caring for people should be our highest priority. And laws that promote human development should be created at all levels of all governments as natural outgrowths of those beliefs.

If you believe in these principles then an appropriate question is, “What’s next?” And a congruent action step is to gather with those who care deeply about the future and are willing to:

1.  Create in-country roundtable discussions where participants of varying social and economic status meet and discuss solutions within the context of the Collaboration Model.
2.  Dialogue among nations at semi-annual conferences where every country is represented.
3.  Create grassroots and government support for the Collaboration Model.
The obvious challenge with discussions that involve participants from different backgrounds and cultures is the problem of differing perspectives. Indeed, the gap between the haves and have-nots, cultural differences, religious differences, etc. pose a threat to the success of the proposed roundtable discussions and international dialogues. However, if participants can agree on long-term goals such as prosperity and peace, healthy discussions about how to accomplish those goals can include the elements of collaboration.
Old thinking assumes that top-down control will inevitably continue, but history proves that model is broken. New thinking leads to partnerships and to policies that value people and their needs. And that model works. It’s time for new thinking.

 I believe that the individuals, families, businesses, and nations that adopt and adhere to the Collaboration Model will not only enjoy increased prosperity, they will help lift the level of love and peace on earth in powerful ways, never before witnessed in the history of the world.

I am sending out a CALL FOR ACTION.
Who am I to do this? I’m one woman who leads one organization that’s in 152 countries: The Women’s Information Network (The WIN) www.theWINonline.com and www.GlobalWomensSummits.com.
I know the hearts, needs, and desires of the women of the world. They want prosperity and peace and they’re willing to do almost anything to get it. Millions of women worldwide have been victims of the old Dominance Model.
And now it’s time for new thinking; new action; new strategies that work. It’s time for kindness, caring, and collaboration.

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