The Need To Collaborate

Sometime last year during a training, I was assigned a task with one of my colleagues:  to take an important examination on behalf of the firm which would qualify us for some big businesses. The business required at least 2 people to pass the exam.
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We were given over 3 weeks to prepare. We took the courses, researched the internet individually and we both felt confident that we would pass. As a FUTO graduate, I no wan fall hands and my colleague (finished from UNILAG).. didn't want to fall hands either.
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We had points to prove. The D-Day came.. we walked in majestically into the computer test center which had cameras installed to monitor us and we took the exam. He came out before me, I took my time (mostly staring at hard questions).
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I eventually came out 30 mins after he did. The look on his face wasn't good.. the exam results were instant and he had already checked. He failed. He asked me to check mine.. I was reluctant to check ( maybe I thought that delaying the checking of my result would somehow affect the outcome 😅).
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I eventually checked and it turned out that I also failed in in flying colors..😁 just kidding.. we were both very close to the pass mark.. but we failed nonetheless. I was sad.☹️
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I reluctantly placed a call to our line manager to let him know we failed. He said he expected that(the exam was difficult) and already made provision for us just incase we did. But he told us that this would be the last chance he would give. I thanked him.
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Later, I took a look at the topics I failed from the exam review and I compared these topics with the topics failed by my colleague, then I discovered something:
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Most of the topics I failed, he got. And most of the ones he failed I got. He also noticed it. That was when it dawned on both of us that if we had collaborated and worked together as much as we should have, we would have definitely aced the exam.
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The lesson was very clear.
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We had two more weeks to retake the examination.. This time we worked together as a team. There was nothing to prove, we just wanted to ace the examination at all legitimate costs.  I taught him what I knew about the topics which he failed that I knew while he taught me what he knew about the topics I failed.. for the topics we both failed, we shared the tasks to research and share knowledge among ourselves.
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We created time everyday to revise together. Sometimes he came to my desk, sometimes I moved to his. Soon, it was time for our second shot. We planned to arrive hours earlier before our exam start time, so we could revise together. We revised, but we were still tense till we went in for the exam.
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We sat out the full 90 minutes of the exam.. I came out and I checked.. it was 97% .. way above the 70% pass mark. He checked as well and made almost the same score at 93%. We were both excited. We called our line manager and I jokingly told him we had failed again at which he kept silent.. then I laughed and told him I was kidding.. he had a good laugh.
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In life, not everything is a competition.. truth be told, some things are actually competitive.. but to get the really big wins, we need to learn to work together and put aside our differences. No one is perfect and no one knows it all, no matter how smart or intelligent we think we are.. we all need to work with people if we really want to achieve the bigger goals.
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At some point you've got to drop your perception of yourself and be humble enough to work with humans of different class and origins. You'll be surprised at how fast you can achieve your objectives working with different people than when you try to achieve stuff all alone. Even in football.. the best striker alone can't face a full 11 man team.. he needs the ball to at least be passed to him.

#Nigel

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