Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Collaboration lessons from my grandfather

I studied computer science in college and started off as a programmer, but gradually moved into the role of a project manager.  Partly because I was curious to know more about the customers and their needs.  And partly because I seemed to have a knack for seeing red flags and opportunities (yes, those usually go together) where others didn’t.

So now, I’ve worked as a collaboration professional for 17 years, but it’s only recently that it dawned on me where I got that knack from.  When I was 9 years old, I started helping my grandparents at their sheep farm.  We always seemed to be shepherding (also called a roundup).  

My grandparents working on their sheep farm in 1967
There were roughly three different sizes of a roundup: The smallest ones were daily roundups during spring and fall. The sheep would be let out of the barn in the morning to graze in the fields near the farm and then brought back in the evening.  This was also every kids training ground for the next step. A few miles from the farm on a steep mountainside, there was a corral (a big fenced area) about two miles wide.