It is getting harder and harder to carry the monkey on your own. The world is more complex and specialized. Finding other people to partner and conspire with not only is often more fun, but your ideas will be be better thought out and your strength will grow exponentially.
It is time to get serious about collaboration.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller
FISH IN THE SEA
Where do you meet people that might be possible collaboration partners? Think broadly. Take a new look at clients, competitors, people in your business network, other areas in your company, suppliers, those who serve similar clients, even community groups.
To help identify the characteristics of your “ideal” partner, start by taking a closer look at the people and organizations you work with today. Determine which relationships are working the best, and then examine the qualities of these relationships. What are your strong areas of interest? Who compliments your strengths? Who is most likely to benefit from doing business with you? Know the value you provide to your clients and business partners. Who can you help most based on your background, experience and education. Focus on identifying potential collaborators who offer the highest probability of success.
TAKE IT SLOW
This is not the time to push fast, superficial relationships. Take the time and find the right business partners to grow with in the future. The internet offers a wide variety of places to meet others with common interests. in a ‘shared space’ online. www.yahoogroups.com hosts hundreds of groups where likeminded people discuss topics, voice opinions, share knowledge, and grow ideas. There are dozens of blogs out there that might interest you. Find a group or a community you might be interested in, and get involved!
The more you can learn about your potential partner, the greater the chance of making the right decision about a long-term relationship. Ask questions about goals, ambitions and values. Listen for where you might complement each other and create a future together.
DREAMS to HAPPILY EVER AFTER
By dreaming together you create the possibility to achieve a richer, fuller result than you could achieve on your own. In an exciting book entitled “The Collaboration Challenge“, James E. Austin, the author, talks about the tremendous opportunities for business combinations between nonprofits and profits. “The twenty-first century will be the age of alliances. In this age collaboration between nonprofit organizations and corporations will grow in frequency and strategic importance.”
If you are seriously considering a partnership, conduct an planning process together (maybe even bring in a trained facilitator). Create a common vision, strategies and goals. With agreed upon priorities and plans you can start the relationship with an agreed upon level of commitment. Decide on an ongoing process for communication and information flow.
COACH AS COLLABORATOR
A trained business coach can also be an excellent collaborator if you are struggling to think about your situation from new perspectives. A coach will not implement solutions for you, but can serve as an excellent support team to round out ideas as you move forward in the development of new personal and business strategies.
By working together with others to create solutions in anticipation of the future, you will open up the door to all kinds of new possibilities.
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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