Combating the Collapse of Collaboration

08/21/2013 05:27 pm ET Updated Oct 21, 2013

There's an epidemic happening these days that doesn't seem to be getting much attention. There are no public service announcements about it or heart-warming advertisements from the Foundation for a Better Life telling us to "pass it on." Nor is there a special non-profit dedicated to the eradication of this detrimental issue that I call "The Collapse of Collaboration."

Don't believe me? Think about the following:

1. True bi-partisanship
2. Effective corporate mergers
3. Successful marriages

These are three "big" things that require successful collaboration to bring people together with the hope and goal that everything will work out.

Unfortunately, Congress can't seem to agree on much right now (not even a Farm Bill!). Then there are shelves (and digital libraries) full of books and articles about corporate mergers that have hit the skids. And let's not forget that roughly half of all marriages in the U.S. fail.

Why? The Collapse of Collaboration. People just don't seem to want to work together any more. More specifically, people don't seem to want to work together any more for the mutual benefit of all involved. Folks only want to partner up if it is good for them or their entity -- regardless of if the collaboration ultimately benefits the collective, the industry or the country. Everyone wants to win and come out on top. But in reality to have real collaboration and team work it might mean some of the time some sacrifice is required -- that is the part I see people getting stuck on time and time again.

From my vantage point in the education/non-profit space, I see examples of ego, anxieties and fear getting in the way of true partnerships and collaboration.

That's why I'm glad our non-profit decided to become one of the driving forces behind an opportunity for collegiate honor society collaboration in order to benefit the members we all serve: ScholarCon.

Scholar-What? ScholarCon. It stands for Scholar Convention. Think of it as the SXSW or ComicCon for college students. But this "unconventional convention" is specifically for and will bring together the best and brightest of the nation's highest achieving college students in Orlando next summer. ScholarCon will take place July 24-27, 2014; it will be four days of collaboration, innovation and celebration to help participants dare, dream and discover all the ways they can put their achievement to work in building an even better and brighter future.

What makes this a special and innovative opportunity is that the core collaborating honor societies include The National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Kappa Omicron Nu and Alpha Sigma Nu. We are all members of the Association of College Honor Societies; it's a community of over 70 collegiate honor societies representing millions of members nationwide and across the globe. By collaborating we are making it possible for other honor societies who may not have the resources to fund or manage an event of this magnitude to have the opportunity for their members to attend and benefit.

You might be thinking -- wait, three honor societies doing all the work to create an opportunity that would benefit over 70? That doesn't seem fair. Why would anyone do that? I will tell you why -- collaboration. We know that this will benefit all scholars as they can interact and network with a larger community beyond individual society boundaries. That's a win all around even if it means a few of us do a little more work on the front end to get things going.

By working together, we've been able to attract some big name speakers such as singer/humanitarian John Legend and actor/former White House aide Kal Penn. Plus, employment recruiters will be attending. We are also making sure the participants will have the chance to give back by creating a number of community service opportunities in the local Orlando area.

But most of all, we are doing our part to combat The Collapse of Collaboration in the hopes that we can start a ripple effect and get everyone to remember the true meaning of TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.