Collaboration Works Best: Elephants Can Dance as James Belasco Says

Mike Schoultz
5 min readSep 8, 2022

Two decades ago, author James Belasco wrote a business best-seller “Teaching the Elephant to Dance.” It was all about helping companies and organizations to embrace change. If it were written today, it would be all about embracing change and how collaboration works in commerce.

Collaboration drives creativity because innovation always emerges from a series of sparksnever a single flash of insight.

Ken Sawyer

Before we continue, let me ask you a question.

Have you tried collaborative commerce design in your business? We would love to hear about your experiences. Would you do us a favor and post it in the comments section below? Be the one who starts a conversation.

In a recent article in Harvard Business Review, Bain & Co. partner Michael Mankins estimates that while a typical executive in the 1970s might have received 1,000 messages a year, that number has skyrocketed to more than 30,000 today and argues that we may “have reached the point of diminishing returns.”

I think just about everyone can see his point. Today, the number of meetings, emails, and IMs we receive can seem overwhelming and it’s increasingly hard to find uninterrupted quiet time to focus and concentrate. However, the nature of work has changed. The real reason that we communicate more is that today, we need to collaborate more to be effective.

Related post: 10 Entrepreneur Lessons You Need to Know

Before I tell you more about this business book, let me tell you a personal, but related, story a friend shared with me. It is told from his viewpoint.

A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the garage with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other. What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time.

Let me tell you about it:

I turned the dial-up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older-sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice. You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the



Mike Schoultz

Mike Schoultz writes about improving the performance of business. Bookmark his blog for stories and articles.