As written for Fargo, INC
They say that two heads are better than one.
When multiple minds come together with a willingness to contribute, are actively engaged and share a common purpose, amazing things happen. In today’s world, this is known as collaboration.
In my last column, we talked about the relationships that are critical to the success of your business. Individually, they are a plethora of information and experience. But what happens when you bring them together in an effort to make something better, solve a problem or create something new?
According to Google, collaboration is “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” It is also commonly known as collusion, combination, concert, participation, partnership, teamwork, alliance, joint effort, or working together. All of these words conjure up images of groups of people working together harmoniously for a cause.
If you think you know better than everyone else, think again. Sometimes the best ideas happen by chance…
- Have you ever had an encounter with a random stranger that spurred an idea for a new product or service?
- Have you ever had a discussion with a customer that gave you an idea for a marketing or sales campaign?
- Have you ever received a suggestion from your employees regarding improving a process or procedure that saved the company money?
These are all examples of happenstance encounters.
But what if you were intentional about creating these opportunities? In our world, collaboration happens daily.
- How do we help a small business get the financing they need to be successful?
- Who are the key players needed to pull the deal together?
- What additional resources does the business need to accomplish their goal?
These are questions we ask of ourselves and our partners.
When we hear the challenge “it can’t be done,” that’s when we dig in and try to find a different way. Rather than “it can’t,” we explore “how can” something happen. Collaboration is the “magic word” that makes the impossible, possible.
Unfortunately, we can’t just wave a magic wand and expect everyone to work together and thrive. Collaboration cannot be forced. It takes a great amount of voluntary effort to make a group of individuals, usually cross-functional, to come together, but the rewards that stem from it are far greater than any extra work that is put into it. With everyone on board, you will see that the relationships formed complement each other in a unique way and create an easier and better understanding of the way in which a dream can turn into a reality, while forming a strong network along the way!
They say a magician never reveals his tricks, but luckily the keys to collaboration have already been unlocked! By demonstrating the tools necessary for fostering collaboration – trust, open-mindedness, and communication — you will be able to see direct results throughout the process!
Imagine the possibilities that could stem from a team that works together with each member pulling their own weight. By trusting each other, not only will you build a strong support system, but can rely on the strengths of each member to better the end result. In addition, listening with an open mind that is flexible and ready to adapt to each members’ perspective and ideas, you will be able to come up with a more effective and efficient method of getting the job done. Part of making the magic happen involves realizing that everyone brings a different set of unique talents and ideas to the table and remembering that just because they may do things differently does not mean they are doing them incorrectly. By embracing these differences instead, you leave room for creativity and show a deeper sense of trust. Collaboration is all about how you look at things, and you never know the tricks someone else may have up their sleeve!
Communication is perhaps the most important key to working as a team and it can allow for greater mobility between all the members. With this as a priority, you will be able to better understand your customers, the task at hand, and the best way to accomplish your goal. A team of individuals working harmoniously towards a shared common goal simply can’t be stopped!
When you are trying to create something new, bigger or better or trying to solve a challenge, remember the magic word. With trust, an open mind, strong communication, (and maybe even an “abracadabra!”), the power of collaboration is undeniable.