For anyone who remembers Vanilla Ice, he said it best when he sang: “Stop, collaborate and listen”! We tend to forget how important it is to work together instead of just ploughing through life in a tunneled, self-focused way. Collaboration is much more than teamwork, it’s a way of bringing like-minded minds together, resulting in enhanced resources, problem-solving, performance and overall success for your idea, project or business. Let’s take a deep dive into all things collaboration to find out why we need it and how to become exceptional at it:

Many heads are better than one

We typically don’t enter into a collaborative relationship unless we think we have something to gain that will propel us forward, or perhaps we just want to support someone who needs help. Yes, there are times when we are forced into a school project or a dreaded committee, but that type of collaboration doesn’t always mean ongoing success or ground-breaking change.

The motivation behind why we choose to collaborate with an individual, group or business could be to gain an enhanced reputation or access to skill sets, money or resources we can’t find on our own. However, another great motive is to simply generate better ideas and to create innovation! One person can only know so much, but put them together with others who also have the passion, experience, or knowledge and BOOM…things really start to happen! The collective is greater than the sum of the individuals, especially when you have a diverse group of people. If we only work with people who share similar life experiences, education and goals, then we may end up with the same solution to a problem or challenge, rather than discovering a breakthrough elucidation to the problem at hand.

Starting the revolution

Most successful people got their start from joining forces with others. Steve Jobs didn’t sit alone in his garage…he had a team of superstar computer enthusiasts alongside him. Sir Edmund Hillary certainly couldn’t have climbed Mt. Everest without the help of sherpa Tenzing Norgay and a sizeable support team…and almost everyone else you can think of worked with other key players and supporters as they worked their way to success.

Finding a partner, team or group to collaborate with might not happen overnight. It can form organically through peers, word-of-mouth, or just being in proximity to others with similar interests. It can also start with a simple conversation: “You’re working on that?! We should talk! I’m working on ___” … and that, folks, is how it all starts.

Other times, we have to be more assertive and resourceful to go out and ask for what we need. We can expect to find some rejections, nay-sayers, and roadblocks along the way, but with any goal worth achieving, that’s part of the process.

An object in motion…

After establishing a collaborative relationship or workspace with clear goals, things start to happen with accelerated speed. There’s also more shared accountability, which in turn increases motivation, resulting in enhanced morale and efficiency…and, well, you get the point. Collaboration really works! I’ll explore this topic further throughout this blog series so stay tuned for more.

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Newton