The Power of Business Collaboration
by Canada's Diamond Coach Adele Alfano
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." Anne Frank
Collaboration is the key to business success. Just ask any winner from reality shows such as Survivor and The Apprentice. These players consistently display the power of collaboration by building alliances early on in the game. In most cases, it ensures their victory. Alliances or collaboration is the difference between winning or losing the game. It is not much different in the world of business.
Collaboration comes from the Latin word of "collaborare" which means to work together. Traditional business practices adhered to the old adage that there was not enough business to go around, so competition was healthy and considered the norm. Terms such as "beat your competition" or "step on your competition" were considered traditional business values.
Today, business practice is becoming more visionary and embracing the true definition of collaboration and embracing the concept of working together and the value of interdependency. Business guru Stephen Covey started the collaborative trend that extols the value that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!"
Collaboration is a key element in taking your business practice to the next level. It is a powerful business building strategy, an often overlooked, yet easy business practice that produces powerful results and increasing your leverage in today's market. Effectively putting together resources, energy, talents, and goals, paves the way for the success that you plan together, as well as many unexpected benefits. Go figure!!
If you are thinking of working together with another person or business, we offer you some tips, advice, and some of the pitfalls to avoid:
Collaboration begins the minute you have the inspiration for a project - even if you don't know who you want to collaborate with! Know that 'collaborative thinking' is a different process than thinking solely about your work for yourself. Collaborative thinking is an interactive process, which involves a higher level of communication and a mind-set that is different than working alone.
Recognize that when you collaborate, a new energy is created that is 'bigger than both of you'. To make your project really soar, incorporate masterminding principles and techniques. The book 'Think and Grow Rich' is the root source for this information, and there is an explosion of information about masterminding on the internet.
Have a specific vision or common objective and make sure that it is one that you share. If there are aspects of the vision that are not the same for both of you, discuss them and determine if they can be included, or if they need to be discarded. Having your own agenda will undermine, and even sabotage your collaborative effort.
From this shared vision, your goals will flow. Be specific, write them down, and work on making them as succinct as possible. Create a written mission statement and develop an action plan. Be as specific as possible, and include the tasks you each have, and the roles that each of you play.
Develop a contract with each other that can be notarized. Be specific about monetary and time commitments, and the division of the benefits from the project.
To make a collaborative effort work, you need to set regular meeting times with an agenda. Have specific, clear goals with deadlines. We are all so busy, that it is very easy to move away from the vision of the project, and to lose focus.
Unconditionally accept the other person's skills, and methods of working. Do not expect the other person to work as you do. It will cause a situation of constant friction and tension. Park your ego at the door.
Utilize the skills that are unique for that person. Recognize each person's area of expertise and be willing to sit back and let the other person shine in his or her unique way. Trust is the key.
Do not be afraid to express your feelings, doubts and concerns, but do not become 'lost' in them as well. Keep the lines of communication open and equal between collaborators. At the same time, recognize if you are colluding with each other in any fears that you may have. Getting 'stuck together' in your doubts will steal the energy from your project.
Liking the person that you are working with first really energizes your project. If your collaborative relationship is built on friendship, mutual respect, trust, and lots of humour, the work will be effortless and fruitful.
Nominated for Canada 100 Most Powerful Women, Canada's Diamond Coach Adele Alfano is an award-winning professional speaker, author and co-publisher who has helped thousands of people capitalize on their unique abilities to maximize their potential through her specially designed systems. Her proven techniques have helped people mine passion and purpose in their lives and in an evolving workplace.
Adele is also the co-author, co-editor and publisher for a series of collaborative books titled "Experts Who Speak Books" and is also the founder of the sold-out fundraising events in Southwestern Ontario called Kiss my Tiara!