If you want significantly more success in your life (however you define success)… become an expert at focused, highly effective, long term collaboration!
Focused, highly effective collaboration should be an important habit and part of your personal and professional foundation… that which all else is built upon… that on which all else sits and depends upon.
Focused, effective collaboration is NOT simply spending significant amounts of time (of which most is currently totally wasted) sending, receiving and forwarding emails and text messages, and communicating via Facebook, Linkedin, Tweeter, etc. These are important tools… but they do not result in focused, effective world class collaboration in and of themselves.
There is virtually no obstacle, no issue, no challenge, and no opportunity that others have not addressed, or are not currently addressing and solving. Different, better and best practices are being created and implemented on a daily basis, throughout the world, for virtually every issue and opportunity you face, whether personal or professional. Why spend valuable time recreating the wheel when you can create, manage and lead a highly effective collaboration process that will solve, or at least help solve most of your challenges, and help you see and leverage the opportunities that are always around you? To do otherwise makes absolutely no sense… and significantly less dollars if dollars are your objective.
Think about it. All evolution, all progress, all improvements, all opportunities are based on constant, consistent collaboration in the physical and scientific world. Everything is created and improved, or not improved, as a result of collaboration. The same is true for 99.9% of all plants and animals that once lived on our planet. Yes, 99.9% of all plants and animals that once lived on our planet are now extinct and gone forever! Why? They could not learn, take advantages of changes, and adapt quickly enough to survive the many forces that were changing their environment.
Other species have thrived, improved and are doing much better in their environment because they have collaborated and learned from their environment and have made the difficult but necessary changes and adaptations… which, by the way, is exactly what you want and need to do and where you want to be!
We have incredible tools with which to communicate and learn practices, better practices, best practices… and to access highly relevant information from people and organizations around the world. And, it is going to get better – or worse if you ignore this increasingly critical competency. The recent annual Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference proves the point. The main topic of discussion, specifically addressed and interwoven throughout virtually all other discussions, was current and future collaboration. Like, “you ain’t seen nothin yet!”
Although more time consuming (which can be a good thing – quality time together), focused, consistent, face-to-face collaboration between the right people and the right organizations continues to be one of the most effective ways to collaborate. National Institute for Healthcare Leadership leads and facilitates a number of National Learning Networks whose members are highly satisfied, receive great value and return on investment, and who continue to renew their membership year after year.
You may be smart, or even downright brilliant. You may have extensive experience, perspective and accomplishments in a number of areas. However, with all due respect, you, or any other one person, including yours truly is no match for the collective knowledge, ability and potential of thousands, or tens of thousands of people you can readily access if you are focused and consistent in creating, maintaining and leading your international collaboration network. Or, as Seth Godin describes it in his recent book entitled, Tribes, you can create and lead one or more tribes of people from around the world who have the same interest, goal, obstacle, opportunity, or issue that you have.
It never ceases to amaze me how much people will share and give if they perceive the request is serious and sincere and that the value will flow both ways. World class collaboration, as is true with all important endeavors, is as much or more about giving than receiving. To have a friend, you must be a friend. To receive value, you must give value. To receive high value, you must give high value. And the giving comes first!
Unlike the flowers or the animals that are extinct due to changes in their environments to which they did not adapt, we humans can reach out and learn from people and organizations around the world that have or are or will be facing the same personal and professional challenges, opportunities and issues we face.
Without question, this is the best and most efficient time in the history of mankind to effectively and inexpensively collaborate. Now is the best time in the history of mankind to:
- Learn from other people and organizations… whether across the street or half way around the world… for an unbelievably low cost and low inconvenience.
- Benefit from the knowledge, expertise, experience and wisdom of others. Remember… every person on the planet has knowledge, expertise, experience, perspective and wisdom you will never have! Never!
- Collaborate in order to learn… to benefit… to productively seek, receive, examine and evaluate the advice, suggestions and counsel of others.
- Implement that which is most applicable to where you want to go, what you want to accomplish and the legacy you want to leave.
But first you must purposefully create, maintain and lead the process. If it’s to be, it’s up to me! Then you must give before you receive. This is the point at which most people and organizations fail. They focus on receiving and “what’s in it for me,” rather than giving and allowing a universal law to take care of the rest… If you unselfishly and consistently give… you will receive… in like manner or in most cases, much greater.
Immediately following the recognition of an obstacle, opportunity or other issue, among the first thoughts or actions of a world class collaborator will be:
- Let’s find out who has already solved or addressed this issue. Let’s learn what they have already learned. Let’s NOT recreate the wheel.
- Let’s tap our already established international collaboration networks before we spend another dime or any more time on this issue.
- If we can’t find an acceptable answer or the right strategy, let’s partner with our collaboration partners to find appropriate answers and solutions that benefit everyone involved.
- Who knows… the perfect solution or strategy may have already been created and implemented elsewhere. Let’s NOT waste valuable time and resources recreating the wheel.
Now is the time… focused, consistent, on-going collaboration is increasingly a critical… and fundamental foundational element for all your personal and professional success.