5 Ways to Activate and Inspire Collaboration

August 17, 2010

Working towards creating a collaborative movement can be a bit daunting at times. Having many voices involved sometimes can be overwhelming…or at least a feeling of too many cooks in the kitchen, per say.

It is this daunting feeling of many involved that can kill a great idea. So, how do we make sure that we are able to translate the power of many into a positive movement of cooperation?

In my experience there are a few aspects that must be included when invoking a collaborative movement. Here are my top five picks for making sure a collaboration effort goes from a great idea to an inspirational cooperation of like-minded people:

1. Be picky on who your founding members are…This may sound obvious, but in reality does take some forethought and consideration. Often times when a movement is in the beginning stages, there are those that are quick to join, only to realize that they don’t have the time to dedicate to the cause. Or, you may come across a nay-sayer that is, at first, loud in his opinion, but then realizes with time and education that he agrees with you more than he originally thought. For successful collaboration it is vital to have all founding members be on the same page, with the understanding of what will be needed for the idea to progress.

2. Listen to others through your heart…Sometimes it is hard to hear others’ opinions, especially when words are slashing like a knife. Take the time to step back. Realize that most negativity is spoken due to lack of understanding. It is a positive step forward when the harsh words are not taken personally and are heard first through the heart and then through the mind. Understanding where the opinions and beliefs are coming from opens us up to learn. Those with the opposite opinion than ours can help us see, and work through, what can go wrong in the future.

3. Be open to the idea shifting with input from others…an original idea can be great, but with the voice of others involved it will become magnificent. Giving up our ego, or belief that our idea is the way it should be, assists in expanding the collaborative vision. In truth, all ideas work towards their highest potential when others’ thoughts and opinions are involved, or at least heard. And incorporating those beliefs may just bring the collaborative movement to a higher level beyond anything the original conception could have achieved.

4. Be clear on your mission statement…before involving others, it is a good idea to write down exactly what you believe the mission statement of the idea is. This not only helps define it more in your head, but also clarifies the idea for those that will be involved in the future. In addition to a mission statement, including the core values of the project is an additional way to help define exactly the purpose and the path for the collaborative movement. With such clarity, it is more difficult to led astray from the original intent.

5. Concentrate on collaborating with groups and organizations with a common outlook…extending the collaborative idea to other groups, businesses, non-profits, and organizations helps not only in comradery, but also in assisting in not giving up. Working with established groupings proves to our inner psyche that our beliefs do have foundation, and that there are others that care about the idea. It is, in truth, just another extension of collaboration. And a way to feel supported.

The Basics of Successful Leadership Broken Down by the Shirtless Dancer Guy

May 27, 2010

A great lighthearted look at what really creates a movement, this Youtube is worthy for all ages to watch. Humor creates the best platform for learning…

How to Make Sure Your Collaboration is a Success

March 15, 2010

Are there aspects to collaboration that cause concern for you?

Is it possibly the idea of working with many people?

Or maybe it is the fear of not being heard in a group setting?

Or is the worry of so many voices having a say seem like a headache of unorganized opinions?

For me, all of those aspects of collaboration have transpired in some way or another in my experience working with others. In the moment, these questions brought up concern. Is this project even worth it? Maybe I should just try this on my own. But in each situation, every challenge had its solution. And the collaboration effort always far exceeded any attempts done by one individual alone.

So, how do we push through the moments of collaborative hesitation. Here are five ways to make sure your project of cooperation continues on a path of promise…

1. Work from a place of positive persuasion. The art of persuasion is truly a gift. And it can be used for good and evil. As has been demonstrated by Hitler and other leaders that have caused mass murder of those that they consider of less humanistic qualities, negative persuasion has been the cause for much heartache. But in the end these evil processes of collaboration dissolve. In the long run, the type of collaboration that will succeed is one that comes from a place of creating better for others. If each collaborative project began from a place of positive persuasion, the heart of the cooperation will guarantee success.

2. Be nice. It sounds so basic. But it is the truth. The nicer we are to others, the more they are inspired to become involved. Whether it involves sitting back while others take the helm, or it means giving a person showing passion an appreciative pat on the back, it is the small acts of kindness that help all of us feel valued.

3. Create a dream box. A dream box is a special place for those involved in the collaborative process to place their dreams in written form. With writing the thought out, it makes it that much more real. The box helps bring the collective thoughts together in a non-threatening way. At the end of the month or quarter, having a get together to discuss the wishes will help inspire the group as a whole.

4. Include appreciation in your collaboration. One of the great aspects to working together is being able to use each person’s strength. But always keep in mind that there should be reciprocity. In other words, that person’s expertise should be compensated in some way. Whether it is goods or services, or maybe just a hug, showing appreciation for what others bring to the table will inspire even greater positivity.

5. Help others achieve success. If your collaborative efforts are helping others to accomplish their highest potential, the results will come back around to help the collaborative process in the end. The struggling writer, artist, construction worker, nurse, etc, that the cooperation process is helping could be its savor in the future.

Steven Strogatz Explains Natural Cooperation on TED

March 12, 2010

Have you ever wondered how or why flocks of birds seem to fly together in perfect unison? It has always amazed me how their ingrained ability to work together can create beautiful waves of motion in the air.

In a great speech about nature’s collaboration, mathematician Steven Strogatz, offers a reason for Mother Nature’s synchronized acts. Then, taking it a step farther, he applies it to other aspects of life, as well. Strogatz helps to clearly verbalize that the interlacing of natural cooperation is truly right before our eyes.

10 Things Collaboration Can Not Live Without

March 1, 2010

There are a thousand different aspects to successfully creating a collaborative project.

Here are ten components cooperation can not do without…in no particular order:

1. Excited founders that are ready to be tenacious and go the long haul.

2. Time

3. Patience

4. Passion for the project or the results of the project

5. The ability to allow everyone involved to feel as if they are important to the collaborative effort

6. Incorporation of a mission statement, code of ethics and core values

7. Working with other cooperative creations

8. Social networking

9. Organization

10. The true belief that the collaborative mission is for the better of all

Successful Collaboration Traits

February 8, 2010

Working together is a natural part to the human consciousness.

As babies we are drawn to helping those we don’t know, as shown in scientific studies. But as we progress through the stages of life sometimes this is forgotten.

When I was in my mid-20s I worked for a company where I did not feel needed. When I would offer solutions to problems we were facing on the job site, my boss would usually mumble some response about getting to it later. If I was to offer extra time when shorthanded, I was treated as if this was expected of me and that my time was of little importance. What happened? I quit.

I took my desire to work with others and created my own company where I could offer a work place where my associates (not employees) where offered a place to speak and be heard…a business where we could work together to create something better.

At some point in life, we may fall into the rut of believing that we are bound to the shackles of working for someone that doesn’t respect us. Maybe the thoughts of not having what it takes to be a leader has crept into your mind, or possibly you believe that your thoughts aren’t important enough to share.

This is not the truth. We all have an expertise. We all have something to share. Combining our collective genius together will always create a better product than that which was created alone.

But there are some aspects about how we work together that will help the positive end result to arrive with less drama. Here are 5 collaboration traits that are certain to help inspire smooth cooperation:

1. Create a “Mission Statement” so that everyone is on the same path: By writing out what the exact mission of the group is, everyone can make sure they are on the same path. And if a person doesn’t like the focus, they have the opportunity to opt out. This helps save time and hassle for all involved. By laying out the foundation in the very beginning, the final structure will be that much stronger in the end.

2. Really listen to what other people are saying: people want to feel heard and know that their opinion is important. Trying to take control of someone’s viewpoint or not allowing them to express themselves will only derail the project. A great way to invoke communication is to inspire “brainstorming” time. This helps people feel free to throw out what they are thinking. There is never a wrong or bad comment during brainstorming. What may seem crazy, may end up being the saving aspect to a problematic challenge.

3. Stay consistent: in addition to wanting to work together, another ingrained aspect to the human personality is that we have a deep, subconscious need to remain consistent. By staying true to the mission statement, through actions, comments and view points, you are allowing others to trust in the project as a whole and to remain in an agreeable state of mind.

4. Offer something to those that are giving something to you: As the saying goes, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you…” When people feel as though you have done a good deed for them, there is a much higher chance that they will do something positive for you. If the mindset of the collaborative is to help an aspect of society, those that it is helping will want to help it.

5. Impress upon each person that they are vital to the project: People want to feel wanted. If a person feels shunned, obviously they will have less desire to be a part of the project. And again, all of us have a genius inside of us, so in reality we are all vital to the projects we involve ourselves with.

Cooperation Teaching Guide for Kids

January 18, 2010

As Marty Frost mentioned in his interview, “kind” collaboration is a key factor in a cooperative succeeding.

This is true for any type of group effort.

I remember back to my days in elementary school. The basic ideas of working together where attempted. We were put into groups and asked to figure out problems in a friendly manner. One of my favorite exercises was trying to describe a picture to a blindfolded group member using only certain words. The quickest group to expedite the verbal communication received the coveted prize of a candy bar.

Well, the science of collaboration has developed since the 80s. Which is a fabulous thing, in my opinion, because in all seriousness, our world will not advance if our children do not learn and develop what we already know.

One organization that is working hard on helping youngsters be positive members of a healthy planet is Good Character.com. They have created a series of great educational plans to help kids work together. The colors are catchy. The delivery fun. The message vital.

I applaud them in their efforts and easy-to-follow lessons to share basic knowledge that some adults are still lacking…treat others the way you would want to be treated…truly listen to what others are saying…show appreciation towards others and their helpful acts.

as well as the many others that we should activate in our daily lives…

like enjoying each other’s company.

Assessing Your Collaboration

December 21, 2009

What would be your guess to the most important factors that hinder or help a collaborative project?

For me, the first few thoughts that come to mind would include the ability to truly communicate, the capability to work from a place of accountability and respect and to always be based out of a place of complete transparency…not to mention trust that all active participants are involved for the betterment of the project.

The United States Cooperative Extension Program sponsors a journal, Journal of Extension (JOE). Included in their informative articles is a guide on which factors are productive to the creation of collaborative efforts. The information was formulated by experts in the field that studied which human characteristics and actions most affected our ability to work together.

They then gleaned from the results a self-evaluation tool that assists the forming of groups or teams into long-lasting cooperatives. Such factors as sustainability, political climate, history, connectedness, understanding the community and leadership, among others, are brought together to ascertain the probability of success.

Community Collaboration Information

December 14, 2009

“Throughout history, progress and even survival, have at times depended on collaboration. When environmental conditions, competition, or other circumstances have made life more difficult or resources are scarce, great civilizations and movement have been developed by people uniting together for a common purpose. Greatness and progress have often accompanied a unified effort through adversity. When Creativity, Skills, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation, accompany Collaboration, possibilities are extended, doors are opened, capacity expanded and success realized.”

This is a fabulous quote taken from an informative site about community collaboration. It truly gets to the heart of the matter of what collaboration is all about.

A website created for the purpose of coming together, it is a great way to expand the circle of useful resources when creating a cooperative neighborhood effort. The research gathered is also focused on youth participation, an important aspect to the future of working for the good of all.

%d bloggers like this: