Mastering Collaboration Without Hesitation

When evaluating collaborative environments, we see that if we are able to combine the right people, with the right skills and values, and the time to build trust and communication, teams can accomplish truly incredible things.

Collaboration is a hot topic, and is hugely important to the success of so many initiatives. Yet, there is still plenty of hesitation around collaboration, so we want to address it head on.

Collaboration isn’t a yellow brick road to success. You will most certainly have to navigate some hurdles along the way. Many of us have overcome a fair share of hurdles to embrace collaboration in our own professional or creative lives.

Collaboration comes naturally to some, and naturally more challenging to others. 

We each face different hurdles when it comes to mastering our own collaborative contribution. Yet, there are some difficulties that all individuals and teams regularly face when striving to cohesively work together.


Fear

Fear is pretty relevant in all areas of business but especially when it comes to collaboration. We don’t often express our fears around working together, but our actions often prove the fears to be true. Fear of collaboration is an unsubstantiated fear, but it still has a negative impact on the effectiveness of countless teams.

Many fears around teamwork and collaboration are rooted in fears that our environment won’t value our ideas, visions, and opinions.

Fears are very personal, and take personal initiative to overcome them. When you shift to embrace your fears and contribute confidently within your team, you can open up a whole new world of possibilities.

Common Fears Around Collaboration

  • Fear That Someone Will Take Your Idea
  • Fear That Someone Will Make Something Better Than You
  • Fear That You Will Fail or Be Wrong
  • Fear That You Don’t Know Enough to Contribute
  • Fear that You Will Take the Blame if the Project Fails
  • Fear That Our Knowledge and efforts will be less valued than others.

Mindset

We can begin to welcome and empower collaboration by changing our mindset. 

Our ability to work coequally within a team can be disrupted when we are so set in our own perspective, that we cannot even recognize someone else’s viewpoint in its entirety.

As humans we can easily think that we are the best, and that we know best, when in reality we may not. Which can cause us to hoard our knowledge, ideas, and skills from others.

A common misconception about collaborating is “if I collaborate or discuss their ideas with someone, the other person will steal my ideas and run off into the sunset with them!”.

While this “could” happen, it probably won’t. Because, even if someone does run with your idea, they could never bring it to life in the special way that you can.

This is why we have brand loyalty and are able to enjoy brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, and more all within the same “ business sphere”. Each coexisting to provide the most value and best products for their customers in their own unique ways.

Yes, they are competitors, but they each have their own audience and loyal brand supporters. This seems to be working out just fine for each of them, so don’t worry too much.

Remember nobody can do you (or your ideas), like you can.

Don’t hide yourself and hoard your knowledge from the world because that really serves no one, not even yourself.


Team Culture

The culture and organizational structure in which your team operates can have great impacts on its collaborative success. When a company’s culture is rooted in fear, competition, or politics then the potential for effective collaboration will be limited. 

Fear based work cultures are most harmful to employees and their quality of work. This type of culture isn’t conducive to the sharing of ideas, and often leaves employees feeling alone and invaluable in many collaborative settings.

It’s been proven that when a team focuses on tackling a “common enemy” or shared challenge outside of the organization, it helps bring the team closer together and motivate them to work harder and more cohesively.

One of the biggest signs of fear based work culture is competition within the team itself.

Competition should only ever exist outside of a team. Competition within collaborative environments tears teams apart and makes accomplishing success more challenging.

Lastly and maybe most importantly, commit to recognizing contributions and celebrating successes within your team. This ensures that everyone feels valued and supported within the team, and those team members will be more likely to maintain or improve their contributions in the future with confidence.


Tips To Master Collaboration Without Hesitation

  1. Make a safe space for the wisdom and feedback of others.
  2. Embrace the uncertainty of collaboration by giving everyone permission to fail.
  3. There are actually no foolish Ideas. Many of the greatest ideas began as foolish ideas.
  4. Prioritize acceptance over agreement. Acceptance is always the best way to come to a fair and effective agreement.
  5. Collaboration thrives when every person involved can contribute with acceptance, clarity, and support.
  6. Collaborative ideas are collectively inspired, and they stem from something much greater than ourselves. Avoid becoming overly attached to your ideas when collaborating. They are not yours to keep so it’s okay to release them and see what happens.
  7. Recognize efforts regularly & celebrate success as often as possible.

Come work on your collaboration and networking with a community of likeminded business owners and entrepreneurs at our weekly BOSS Board Meet Ups! More Info Here.

If you would like to learn more about Project 3810, our community, and how we are equipped to serve you, click here.

5 Action Items if you are contemplating starting a business

Two reasons I hear from people wanting to start a business is to make money and to have more freedom. However, the reality is you won’t get either of those from owning your own business, especially in the start-up phase. In fact, you won’t get those things in the long term without a solid business strategy.

So today, I wanted to offer 5 Action Items to help delve into your motivations, follow your curiosity and determine if having a business is really the path for you.

#1 Update your resume.

Your resume is your brochure until you figure out what your business is going to be. Your resume tells potential customers, vendors, bankers, partners, who you are and what skills and expertise you have.

  1. Spin you current and past jobs to highlight those skills that align with your future business. I’m not asking you to lie, just think in terms of how all those jobs and experience prepared you for what you are thinking about doing now.
  2. Update or create your LinkedIn profile. This is your virtual resume. Make them mesh. Don’t say one thing on the paper resume and a different thing on your LinkedIn profile. Be authentic. Put this link in your email signature. This is a great substitute for a website that you don’t need right now anyway.
    SIDE NOTE: Now is the time to get rid of those yahoo and hotmail email addresses — create a clean gmail one, like firstname.lastname@gmail.com. Gmail is free and you get 15 Gig of storage and the Google suite of office products, Docs, Sheets and Slides.
  3. Connect with recruiters and get their advice on how to improve your resume and Linkedin profile
  4. Go for job interviews. This is an amazingly cheap way to practice selling yourself and your abilities. This doesn’t mean you will accept a new position, but you never know.

REALITY CHECK — your desire to be your own boss might actually be coming from the fact that you are simply unhappy in your current job. This act of updating your resume and talking to recruiters and going on interviews could very well lead you to an amazing new job where you can have more freedoms and flexibility that you are craving

#2 Work for a small business.

Small as in a company with less than 10 employees. This could be a part time 2nd job.

  1. Small business owners wear lots of hats. If you’ve been working in big business then you’ve probably had a fairly well defined job role and it would be good to experience first hand what running a business really looks like.
  2. Small businesses can’t pay as much and might not have the great benefit package, but it’s a step in the right direction of getting use to living on less (see action item 5) and making needed adjustments to start your own business.
  3. In a small business, if you have business chops, you can advance quickly. You can position yourself to become a Key employee, maybe even negotiate some equity after you’ve proven your worth. Perhaps this is the balanced approach because you can compliment the talents of the owner that way. Finding this ideal match is going to take some effort though.

REALITY CHECK — Owning your own business isn’t easy and it is no get rich quick strategy. It’s not for the faint of heart of thin skinned. Get a front row seat to the real ups and downs of cash flow and supply and customer issues. Working in a small business also might give you the freedom of being your own BOSS because the environment is much less structured when the business is small.

#3 Take personality tests

Follow your curiosities (suggested ones are at the end of this article)

  1. These are fun tools and are actually kinda interesting to help you figure out areas of interest, strengths and weakness, risk tolerance, communication styles.
  2. There isn’t one specific personality type that makes a successful entrepreneur. However, the most successful do share certain traits, like high tolerance for risk (living without health insurance or taking a pay cut, for example), visionary, perseverance, able to fail and /or be rejected and still keep on trucking.

REALITY CHECK — If you are thinking about being a business owner or your own boss, it’s really important to create clarity around those musings. You might be thinking of these things for not so obvious reasons. Try to honestly evaluate your goals. In 10 years, if you achieved what you are currently thinking about, what would that look like? Would you be sailing around the world on a yacht? If so, then you might research cost of yachts and go to a boat show so you have something tangible to aim at. Also, you might explore job opportunities that exist in the charter yacht business. See where I’m going with honest evaluations? Dreams are good but if you really want to achieve them it’s important to create actionable steps to make them reality. Owning a business to make tons of money to allow you to sail around the world on a yacht, does not a business plan make.

#4 Ask for the sale

This is a confidence building exercise and will take practice.

  1. Don’t give away all your products and services for free. Even if you only charge $20 for your service to start, you are getting in the practice of valuing yourself. These prices are NOT set in stone – You can and will and should change them as you figure out your business revenue models.
  2. Don’t worry about pricing yourself too low. These first sales are going to help you develop your products/service and give you feedback to what works. Then when things start getting serious you have some experience to base your strategy and pricing models on.
  3. Don’t give away 100% of your products. Set a limit on the quantity for promotional use. Limiting the number you give away means you have to sell the rest. Learning how to ask for the sell is crucial. And to get good and find your style, you must practice. Use % off coupons instead of give-a-ways.
  4. Ask for referrals

REALITY CHECK — If you struggle with this then you might not be cut out for being a business owner or you might need a partner that can handle sales.

#5 Learn about money, cash flow and budgeting

YES YOU MUST DO THIS

  1. Start at home. Look at revenue ( that’s your income. Aka your paycheck.) Now compare that to your expenses. (That’s your bills and where you spend your money). The difference is your profit. Ask the tough questions. To make more profit you either have to bring in more revenue (increase sales) or cut expenses (reduce spending)
  2. Businesses that have awesome sales can fail because they don’t know how to budget and control costs and spending. You must know your numbers. If your significant other does the bills at home, then get involved and learn your profit margin.
  3. As you look at your home P&L (that stands for profit and loss) statement, your first money goal is to create a start up fund by reallocating where you currently spend money and shift some into your startup fund.
  4. If you are in debt, then before you do your startup fund, pay off your debt. (this doesn’t mean your mortgage, but it could)
  5. Learn the difference between fixed costs and variable, between overhead and cost of sales expenses.

REALITY CHECK — This doesn’t mean you have to be the bookkeeper forever, but you must understand the numbers and the ratios and how the economics of business work. You need to be able to read your financials and determine your pricing markups and make decisions about expenses. Start today with your personal P&L.


I’ve covered a ton of info here. I’m happy to help you navigate any of these Action Items as you figure out if starting a business is right for you. Being a BOSS Member is a great place to start and get access to coaching and mentoring.


Personality tests:  Use these as self-assessment tools and as a way to learn your likes and dislikes, your strength and weaknesses, and creative process to determine your interests.  Don’t take them too serious.  Again, follow your curiosity and explore who you are.

14 Free Personality Tests – The Muse

What’s the next step?

Business is business.  This is nothing new.  It’s been done a thousand times before.   Just google “business advice” or any other business question you have and you WILL get lots of great articles with absolutely great advice on that question you needed answered.

So what’s the problem.  Why is starting a business so hard?

Because you don’t know what you don’t know.  You haven’t actually done it before.  You don’t know what questions to ask.

We do. We can help.