The power of collaboration…

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”

I love this African Proverb because it sums up in one really simple sentence why so many of us fail to take advantage of the power of collaboration – and yet simply shows us why we should.

Collaboration can be such a powerful way of working – by creating a space where there can be a free flow of ideas from one person to another in a safe environment where there is a true feeling of equality and freedom of diversity we unleash the creative power we all possess.

When passionate people come together and are empowered or energised to focus on a specific task or problem there are no limits to the possibilities and creative power they can apply. Neuroscience has proven the old adage of being on the same wavelength – when individuals using FMRI scanners have worked together on a project that interests them in close proximity to others the frequency of their brain waves actually start to match one another and in this status of flow amazing breakthroughs are made.

Equally astounding in the same study when members of the group were either uninspired or were fixed on a pre-determined outcome their brain wavelengths stayed out of sink with others and their actual input diminished.

Here are a few tips for how to harness the benefit and power of collaboration:
1) Remove hierarchy – if there is a recognised status or hierarchy in the group then collaboration will be restricted
2) Bring ideas but don’t be a slave to them – in collaboration you have to be willing to let your own ideas go and be enhanced or developed with others.
3) The final outcome MUST be new – true collaboration will always results in a NEW idea or way forward – this will be an amalgamation of other people ideas. if the final outcome strongly resembles the original idea or thought of one of the group then some amongst the team have NOT been collaborating truly. Remember your job is not to get your idea accepted – you job is to accept the final idea. There is a massive difference
4) Create time – collaboration takes longer and real collaboration is uncompromising. The minute you start to limit it with time you start to introduce compromise and means you will always fall short of the best.
5) Create a focal point – it is far more powerful for there it be a physical focal point for the collaboration – lay the issue or challenge out in front of you. Use post-its or images to represent the challenge – by actually focussing the attention you bring together the groups combined power and increase the frequency of their thought and brainwaves

Let us know what you top tips for collaborating are…

Haydn Bratt, Pioneer, Mindset Associates

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