Embrace the power of, and the power in, collaboration

“Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”

— poet Mattie Stephanek

Collaboration is empowerment. Collaboration is not giving up something. Collaboration is a way to move forward, move ahead and move beyond challenges with input, perspective and insight. When you collaborate, you focus on what is best instead of who gets their way. To get to a collaborative state to create collaboration, please consider these 10 things:

10. Think collaboration, not compromise. Instead of thinking you want to lose less than the other person or people lose, start with collaboration in mind and move forward with collaboration in your words and actions. 

9.   Use “Yes, and,” as well as, “Please share more,” instead of, “No,” or “But.” These will keep the collaborative conversation advancing positively and productively.

8.   Avoid “Why?” questions. “Why” questions evoke defense, while “What?” and “How?” questions create conversation. Resist “Why?” or “Why not?” Getting to the purpose, and the why, will still result from the what, and how, approach.

7.   Be sensitive to cultural differences and diversity. Watch your sensitivity to people and things said. Come from a place of learning and not judging. Want to know? Ask. Ensure the purpose is known so the answers are given, and received, in the right context.

6.   Be respectful of other people’s time. Learn what others prefer, when is best for them and then respect their desires. Stick with times, and boundaries, set.

5.   Be aware of tone, facial expressions and body language. It’s not what you say, rather how you say it. If your attitude is such that you don’t want to collaborate, check it and move to the value of the results of working together.

4.   Be inclusive vs. exclusive. Allow people to participate. Let people in. Include those who can add value…even if, and especially when, they may have opposing views. Let people skip the process if their time (see number 6) could be best served elsewhere.

3.   Be open-minded. Be approachable. Be agile. Be interested, and engaged, in change.

2.   Be a communicator who listens to learn. Watch the act of waiting for other’s mouths to shut for yours to open. Instead hear, listen, process and communicate through productive questions, and responses, to enhance the engagement.

1.   Treat others how they want to be treated. Abandon the “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated and make it a diamond standard to treat others the way they want to be treated. It’ll be more powerful, and effective, as it will be about them and honoring how they will receive information best.

Working together collaboratively can be one of the most fruitful, worthwhile things you ever do because there is a win in the connection, and a win in the results, without any losses or need for assessing who got their way since it is all about what is best for the situation.

Debbie Lundberg is the founder and CEO of Presenting Powerfully. She combined her General Motors leadership with her Dale Carnegie Training facilitation experience to embark on her business journey in 2006.  She is an 11-time published author, certified virtual presenter, certified life coach, certified leadership coach and certified image consultant. Lundberg is a performance coach who co-hosts The Business Of Life Master Class podcast. Her 2020 book, Remote Work Rockstar, has become a guide for working, and leading, virtually.

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