Did you know that 85% of all alliances fail to meet the needs of one or both parties? Four (4) key reasons are: no common vision, lack of/or poor communication, unrealistic/undefined expectations, and lack of trust. At the end of the day it always boils down to people – not the tools or the processes. TOOLS ARE THE ENABLERS but PEOPLE ARE THE KEY!
Why Is Collaboration more relevant now than ever?
We live in what I call the New Normal!
• Rise in unemployment has given birth to a “free agent” nation of freelancers, contractors, part time employment, and the rise of entrepreneurship by choice or by force. A great resource: (http://www.freelancersunion.org);
• Many individuals between the ages of 40 to 65 have been displaced (people with not only a lot of expertise but also with a lot of wisdom);
• In the workplace, we need to do more with less – less funding, time, executive support or focus, and with less human resources;
• We live in a Global Marketplace – “It’s a Small World After All”. The world is no longer dominated by a handful of countries and the geographical boundaries are gone.
There are so many benefits to collaborating. So why, then, is successful collaboration so difficult to attain?
Human are tribal creatures, constantly drawing boundaries between friends and foes.
• Our society rewards individualistic efforts and encourages competitiveness;
• We are most comfortable with and have a tendency to trust people who are like ourselves (come from the same town, attended the same school, are fans of the same team….);
• We have a tendency to segregate based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, education, occupation or gender;
• In our quest to find similarities and commonalities we are often more divisive than inclusive, and the best partnerships don’t come from partnering with people who are like us.
We are surrounded by potential partners: colleagues, neighbors, friends, fellow volunteers. But powerful partnerships – the kind in which you and a collaborator regularly work together, reach goals together you never could have accomplished apart, and gain the deep satisfaction only such an alliance can bring are elusive. We are crowded in offices, airports, subways – frequently within arm’s reach of dozens of people – but often on a very lonely pursuit. Wired? Yes, Networked Yes, Collaborating? Not much.
“In fact, I would venture to say that we are more isolated now than ever before, we work from home, we’re more engaged with our tools: computer, email, Ipod, Iphone, Social Media - than we are with each other.”
According to a recent Gallup Research:
• Median number of work partnerships for an American employee is just 4
• Most disturbing statistic – for 16 % of the working population the number is 0
• 33% said that they have never had a great partnership at work.
For over two decades, Gallup has conducted exhaustive research on human nature and productivity in the workplace. They spent 5 years, interviewed thousands of people from all walks of life and with different titles, responsibility levels and positions, and crunched data from hundreds of surveys in an attempt to crack the code on collaboration and to discover what elements are crucial for two people to become a successful team (in business or in life) and came up with 8 elements. (note 1)
8 Critical Elements of Successful / Powerful Collaboration
- Complimentary Strengths
- A Common Vision
Some take aways from their research:
• Our strengths are stronger and our weaknesses weaker than we realize
• Individuals are not well-rounded but pairs can be
A Common Vision:
• A shared common vision is the FOUNDATION for all partnerships
• The partnership has little chance of succeeding unless both parties believe it is fair
• Fair doesn’t mean equal
• Trust is the linchpin of a partnership – No trust, no partnership!
• Egocentrism kills partnerships!
• The need to accept each other as we are and don’t try to change each other
• People are imperfect, we make mistakes, and we sometimes do the wrong things
• The only way two minds can be united in one mission is if the pair communicates well
• We must take as much satisfaction at seeing the other succeed as we do from our own success
Being a good partner is hard work!
• Need to get beyond ourselves
• Give up the notion that we are well-rounded
• Stop expecting our colleagues to be universally proficient
• Incorporate someone else’s motivations into our view of the accomplishment
• Put aside our competitive nature, our prepackaged view of how the things should be done
• Put aside our desire not to be inconvenienced with the imperfections of another fellow human being
• Focus more on what we do for the partnership than what we get from it
• Demonstrate trust in more people
• Be slower to anger and quicker to forgive
• …and communicate continuously
• You will discover more comrades among your colleagues
• You will find greater strengths in yourself and in your collaborators
• Your happiness will increase
• You will achieve greater heights than you thought attainable
• You will not stand alone on these summits
Take off your headphones
Break away from the screen
Get out of your office
And unleash the Power of Collaboration!
How is Collaboration Evolving? Next week: Social Collaboration – Joining Forces in a Digital World!
Note 1 Book: Power of 2 – How to Make the Most of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller, PH.D
If you are interested in reading additional articles on Social Media Marketing, Collaboration and Joint Ventures, please go to: http://www.supremesocial.com