Successful Creative Collaboration

It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin.

In order to move forward in today’s connected world, companies large and small are collaborating for sustainable solutions and true progress. We collaborate daily with our clients. Here we outline some of the guiding principles for successful creative collaboration.

1. We have to begin each project believing that everyone involved is bright, eager, and willing to come to the table with fresh new ideas. In order for this to happen, each collaborative member must be reliable and consistent in their behavior to build trust among the group.

2. Everyone on the collaborative team must agree to a common vision and mission – with everyone moving in the same direction and with the same agenda.

3. All should make an honest attempt to understand what energizes and motivates each and everyone one. It is important to identify everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and how they might affect the solutions and outcome.

4. It’s a good idea to ceate a list of expectations and manage these expectations before you begin. Ask questions like –

What is expected from us?  What tools do we use to meet those expectations? How do we manage expectations? Unmet expectations can add incredible strain to a collaborative effort. Each member should clearly understand what is expected of them and keep focused on accomplishing those tasks.

5. In order to move forward in a productive way, everyone should appreciate the complementary strengths from each team member and work towards building mutual trust among all members.

6. The collaborative effort will go no where without honest communication. All should agree to open and honest communication with regularly scheduled meetings.There must be a plan that includes the day-to-day management of strategy and implementation.

7. Although it may seem rather formal, creating an agreement in writing, that everyone can refer to, is an ideal tool for staying the course when the road get’s foggy and the vision is lost.

8.When things get heated up, remember that points of contention can make the collaboration stronger. There must be a willingness to ride out the rough patches as well as a fair division of work and benefits.

10. Try to remember that the team can make a lot less mistakes by bouncing ideas off each other first. Everyone must be adaptable and flexible but stay true to the collaboration’s mission and vision.

11. It is okay to disagree. Remember that you can work out problems with more robust solutions if you understand that disagreeing is not a problem, but the beginning of a solution.

12. Don’t let bad feelings build. Put out fires before they begin. We are human and we will let emotions get in the way. Being kind and respectful to everyone on the team is crucial.

13. Even though you all came together with the intentions of creating solutions, it is a good idea to develop an exit strategy before you even begin.

Read more on successful collaboration here written by Francine Allaire, revenue acceleration strategist.

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