I've long held a fairly jaundiced view of that holy-of-holies in our profession - collaboration. (See: A Few Words About Collaboration) Short version: collaboration should be considered a means of achieving a desired result, not the result itself.
I'm glad to see someone else has grumped about having to work with others. Scott (Dilbert) Adams lists 11 "reasons that teamwork will make any normal individual perform below his highest potential." These include:
3. In any group of three people, there's generally at least one disruptive moron.
5. To mediocre minds, a brilliant idea and a dumb idea sound identical. A team will vote out the best ideas along with the worst.
9. Everyone wants to do the fun stuff and not the boring-but-necessary parts.
That's my kind of thinking! I recently (2014ish) heard someone say that groups always tend to go with the safest option rather than the bold, the experimental, the risky. As I remember the example given was when asked to choose a dessert, vanilla ice cream will be the flavor that offends no one in a group, never rocky road.
Yet even I admit that teams, groups and collaboration are essential under some circumstances. These include:
- When good decisions require the opinion/knowledge of variety of experts. (Tech and curriculum, for example.)
- When decisions involve highly conflicting values. (Security vs. convenience and access)
- Ownership by a range of stakeholders is essential. (1:1 laptop program buy-in by teachers and administrators as well as techs and librarians.)
- When the only way to overcome a negative power by a situational leader is by creating a strong group to counter. (A group of teachers forms a policy committee to make recommendations on less restrictive filtering by a tech director.)
- When a hiring decision is made my a group, a larger number of people have a stake in that person's success. (No one wants to believe they've hired a loser.)
- There is a better chance of donuts appearing when there is a group.
Groups, meetings and collaboration have their place. When there is a reason for them.