How are people collaborating with people they would otherwise compete with? And why are they doing it?
We recently presented at a networking event here in Greensboro, NC on Collaboration as a Business Model to answer these questions as it pertains to our business. To recap, we basically covered how corporate entities have the tendency to silo departments, decreasing communication and suffering because of it. Things are changing as cubicles are starting to be torn down and replaced with wide-open spaces encouraging conversation and idea sharing. Entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, rising steadily with more and more people freelancing and starting their own businesses. Remote working is also rising with people traveling and working from home. Because of this, our mindset should also be shifting. We should see opportunities where we once saw competition. We can collaborate with other companies to reach markets we are having trouble breaking into. We can hire temporary or contract designers, strategists, or consultants to help us see things through different lenses and take our businesses to the next level. And this is the big one...we can be better together. “The strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf.” We live by those words. We have come together as a creative collaborative acting as a full-service marketing agency in order meet every possible need of the client and to build on our own specialties, allowing us to offer a much more successful marketing campaign and strategy, involving every marketing silo while working alongside our clients and their teams.
So here we are, almost two years later, and we have some great advice on collaboration. To stay true to our collaborative spirit, we are collaborating on this blog post to give you some great tips to be more productive, innovative, and...you guessed it...collaborative.
Hi, I’m Jordan. I’m the Alpha over here at SheWolf, and I can honestly say that the way I have thought about business has totally changed since being a part of this amazing group. I have learned invaluable lessons from so many of the members.
My top 10 tips for collaboration are:
Start with leaving your ego at the door: If you are guarded or overly protective of your ideas, you aren’t in the right mindset. It only works if both parties are open!
AGREEMENTS, AGREEMENTS, AGREEMENTS: With that said, you should always outline what works best for both parties in a very detailed agreement. Include everything from the scope of work to acceptable use of the collaborative work and how disagreements can be solved.
Delegate and outsource: You’re one person. A GREAT way to collaborate is to work with people who are stronger where you are weak. So team up!
Communicate: Communication is super important. Choose what works for you. Record your calls with ZOOM to make sure you don’t miss anything. Get a project management app so everyone involved knows what’s expected of them. We love Basecamp.
Ask questions: The more questions the better and no question is a stupid question (okay, maybe there are a few dumb questions BUT you will never learn if you don’t ask. When we collaborate with folks, we always ask questions about their process, bumps in the road they have encountered, and more.
Build Trust: Collaboration can’t really happen successfully without trust. There are some instances where business is business, and you just make sure both sides are protected, but to really have the best impact, trust is needed. “Trust yourself and others, it all multiples.”
Do what you say when you say you will do it: This is a major pain point in the creative community. When you are associating with another person or company, your reputation is on the line. In order to have trust, it’s important you own up to your side of the bargain.
Connect people you know who can benefit from each other: Even if you aren’t the best collaborative partner, people appreciate connections and the more quality your network, the more you can connect people who ARE a good fit. They will thank you for it and remember your generosity.
Protect Your Business + Trust Your Gut: Listen, we are realistic. There are some people who don’t have the same business ethics or values as you. There are some who aren’t mutually beneficial. You don’t HAVE to collaborate with these people, in fact, we wouldn’t recommend it.
Focus more on what you love: When you collaborate or outsource, you can start to focus more on what you love which allows you to continue to get noticed for those things, acting as a giant universal magnet to bring more projects like that your way!
Hi, I’m Dani
During the presentation, I talked about a growing group of collaborators who work and travel called Digital Nomads. I experienced this lifestyle myself and had a blast living in Croatia for 2 months and Italy for 3. This was an opportunity to meet entrepreneurs in different cities while bringing those new connections and experiences to my current clients. Yes, I still dream of the gelato! If you are curious about having your own work/travel adventure, here are 9 rookie mistakes to avoid when becoming a digital nomad. I also blogged about my experiences with my travel partner Ryan at WanderForrest.com.
Another topic we touched on was collaborating with remote teams. Here’s a great read on how to collaborate effectively with remote teams that Jordan actually passed on via Facebook. It goes to show that we use numerous channels to communicate and there is a lot of back and forth sharing:)
Here’s another read on how collaboration can grow your business if you are still unsure what the benefits to you are.
My top tips are:
Explore what works for you
Go outside your comfort zone, try something new like traveling while working
Talk about your collaboration experiences, I learn by teaching so the more I share the more I reinforce what I’ve learned
Learn how to communicate effectively
Choose your tools wisely
See the benefits to you and others
Establish boundaries early on
Follow your joy
Know yourself, know when to go slow and when to go fast
Hi, I’m Alisha
Leadership life and creativity coach with Yoke and Abundance. Knowing your strengths and having a strong sense of self-awareness is critical to any great collaborations. Take the via character strength test and take a look at my worksheet on assessing your current place in life and the goals you most want to accomplish. I think we are covered on tips, so I'll add a few assessments you can check out:
If these tools and tips aren’t enough for you, check out our TOOLBOX online. We recently created a WEBINAR covering all things marketing, and in addition to that, we have listed books we’ve read and podcasts we love.