Tag Archives: Friends

Pressed Into Collaborative Service

Be forewarned! If you go out to dinner with me on a day when I didn’t get to write, you may be pressed into collaborative service. Such was the fate of my husband and friends last night.

by Angela Rutherford on flickr creative commons

Writing – blog posts and book pages – is my top priority from now until March and I am applying reward incentives to keep myself focused. One of those is “No wine until I write two!” The two is two blog posts (to stay ahead of the game), two pages (on the book) or two genuine hours of writing (even if it doesn’t yield a finished product).

Yesterday got away from me before I could write my quota. With me at dinner were my husband George, and friends Mike and Diane. We’d already ordered the wine so I had to act quickly. I asked, “Can someone give me two examples of how collaboration worked for you this week?” Both Mike and Diane came up with an answer. I’ll save Diane’s collaboration example for another day.

Mike talked about finding a problem with the way a customer’s data was showing up on reports that his company produces. He got his team together to solve the issue, considering whether the data was coming in incorrectly, what happened to the data next, finding the source of the problem, deciding if it applied to other customers and estimating the cost of fixing it. The point of the story was that the team collaboration helped to resolve the issue quickly.

Much to Mike’s dismay, Diane and George started asking him a whole lot of questions, attempting to collaboratively solve the issue all over again! My glass of wine was perched at my place-setting waiting for me to take my first sip so I asked Mike if he needed any help and he said “No everything is being handled.” Yahoo!

The moral is: If you’re out to dinner with me and supply an example be sure to start by stating what help, if any, you need. Hmmm…that’s a tip that might work in other situations too.

How do you motivate yourself to stay focused on your priorities?



A Collaborative Thanksgiving

My favorite way to entertain is a collaborative dinner, also known as a pot luck. Not only does it lessen my work load and responsibility, it provides a unique and varied culinary experience.

I even had a pot luck wedding reception. The second time around for both of us, we had no need for the presents required by the newly launched. In fact, we were busy trying to figure out how to handle having at least two of everything!

Everyone got into the spirit. It may help that my collaborative meals have an option for the non-cooks -– a favorite store-bought beverage, snack, bread or dessert is just fine. Sharing favorites is more important than culinary skill.

Check out this menu for a collaborative Thanksgiving dinner planned by seven of Boston’s finest chefs who are friends:

Walnuts coated in sugar syrup and deep-fried
Pumpkin soup with pears and curry served with lentil-flour crisps
Smoked eel on gingerbread canapes
Raw oysters with mango sauce
Lobster with a warm creamy nutmeg vinaigrette and chestnut puree
Cod with traditional spinach-and-bacon stuffing
Venison rubbed with juniper berries, thyme garlic and peppercorns
Turkey stuffed with anadama bread and mission figs

For complete details and recipes go to

What better time to try the collaborative approach than during the holidays? Why be stressed? Let us know about your meal of many contributions. What worked well? What would you do differently next time?

Are Round Tables More Collaborative?

Yes! say my neighborhood walking and breakfast buddies. We spent 2.5 delightful hours after an hour walk, talking and sharing ideas on all manner of subjects. Great way to start the day … oops… it’s half over!