Portrait By Paul Flessland
President & CEO
Dakota Certified Development Corporation (CDC)
They say two heads are better than one. When multiple minds come together with a willingness to contribute, are actively engaged, and share a common purpose, amazing things happen. Nowadays, we like to call it “collaboration.”
In my last column, we talked about the relationships that are critical to the success of your business. Individually, these relationships comprise a plethora of information and experience, but what happens when you bring them together in an effort to make something better, solve a problem or create something new?
Sometimes, the best ideas happen by chance.
Have you ever had a chance encounter with a stranger that spurred an idea for a new product or service?
Have you ever had a discussion with a customer that gave you an idea for a marketing or sales campaign?
Have you ever received a suggestion from your employees regarding improving a process or procedure that saved the company money?
These are all examples of happenstance encounters. What if you were more intentional about creating these opportunities, though? In our world, collaboration happens daily. How do we help a small business secure the financing they need to be successful? Who are the key players needed to pull the deal together? What additional resources does the business need to accomplish their goal? These are questions we’re always asking ourselves and our partners.
When we hear that something “can’t be done,” that’s when we really dig in and try to find a different way. Rather than “it can’t,” we explore how it can. And collaboration is the magic word that makes the impossible possible.
TRUST THE PROCESS
Unfortunately, we can’t just wave a magic wand and expect everyone to work together and thrive. Collaboration can’t be forced. It takes a great amount of voluntary effort to get a group of individuals—usually cross-functional—to come together, but the rewards that stem from it are far greater than any extra work that’s put into it.
With everyone on board, you’ll see that the relationships formed complement each other in a unique way and create an easier and better understanding of how a dream can turn into reality—while forming a strong network along the way.
They say a magician never reveals his tricks, but luckily, the keys to collaboration have already been unlocked. By demonstrating the tools necessary for fostering collaboration—trust, open-mindedness and communication—you’ll be able to see direct results throughout the process.
With trust, an open mind, and strong communication, the power of collaboration is undeniable.
Imagine the possibilities that could stem from a team that works together with each member pulling their own weight. By trusting each other, not only will you build a strong support system, but you can rely on the strengths of each member to better the result.
In addition, listening with an open mind that’s flexible and ready to adapt to each member’s perspective and ideas, you’ll be able to come up with a more effective and efficient method of getting the job done.
Part of “making the magic happen” involves realizing that everyone brings a different set of unique talents and ideas to the table and remembering that just because they may do things differently does not mean they’re doing them incorrectly. By embracing these differences instead, you leave room for creativity and show a deeper sense of trust. Collaboration is all about how you look at things, and you never know the tricks someone else may have up their sleeve.
Communication is the most important key to working as a team, and it can allow for greater mobility between all the members. With this as a priority, you’ll be able to better understand your customers, the task at hand and the best way to accomplish your goal. A team of individuals working harmoniously toward a shared common goal simply can’t be stopped.
When you are trying to create something new, bigger, or better or are trying to solve a challenge, remember that magic word: collaboration. With trust, an open mind, and strong communication, the power of collaboration is undeniable. Collaboration is how the magic happens. I dare you to give it a try!