What are the benefits of collaborating?
Wikipedia states that a collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective.
A collaborative effort provides a variety of benefits (we will only focus on one benefit though) Collaboration fosters communication and an opportunity to network. The networking opportunities start with the people you know. When your friends and family believe in your vision they will spread the news (Word of Mouth).
In order to possess a collaborative mindset a person must be open to collaboration, provide honest feedback, and learn from others.
Be open to collaboration
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
When we act individually, whether with a political motivation, as part of our jobs, or as an artistic endeavor, we are limited by our weaknesses (Levine, 2011).
For example, no matter how much you try, you cannot both tie your shoes and brush your hair at the same time - not effectively anyway! No matter how skilled an individual may be, he or she will still exhibit weaknesses based upon knowledge, strength, political and social pull, etc. By the same token, we all have strengths, and not everyone's strengths are equal to one another (Levine, 2011).
The quote from Helen Keller suggests that we are stronger together as opposed to relying on own ideas, thoughts, or understanding. I have also included another quote from Ryunosuke Satoro that promotes collaboration.
"Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." - Ryunosuke Satoro
We need to be open to collaboration. Being open to collaboration suggests that you are willing to work together to reach a desired goal. Being open to collaboration has given me the opportunity to collaborate with people I have never seen before. The advancement in technology makes this possible (think Skype, Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, etc). I know that I can not achieve things alone.
Provide honest feedback
"Politeness is the poison of collaboration." - Edwin Land
The quote from Edwin Land suggests that sugar coating something will not enhance the collaborative experience. There is a difference between being polite and offering honest feedback. If you do not like something speak up! Ronda Levine (2011) suggests we (humans) use politeness to avoid hurting someone's feelings.
For example, if a beatmaker sends me a beat and I am not feeling it, I will express that sentiment and let him or her know what I prefer (I may even provide an example). Dirty Hairy provides the best feedback from anyone within my circle (he will let me know if a verse is subpar). Cane also provided excellent feedback and helped me organize the tracklist for Professional Hobbyist.
Provide the honest feedback and work collectively to address the issues. Find a solution to the problem. Remember that communication is the focal point of collaborative efforts.
Learn from Others
"We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but we have to learn to live in the same box." - Anonymous
The anonymous quote suggests that we can learn a lot from other people. Some people are talented in some areas, while others are talented in other areas. The key is that we can learn from others. Become a student of life and suppress your own understanding, it will enhance the learning experience and provide a better perspective on things.
I learn from others everyday. Take the time to listen to people and seek value from what they are conveying.
Recap: 3 Ways to Collaborate Effectively
- Be open to collaboration
- Provide honest feedback
- Learn from others
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Are you an effective collaborator or are you a cancer to a team?
Pyramid Scheme Image Retrieved from HERE
Levine, Ronda. (2011). Top 10 Quotes on Collaboration. Retrieved on April 2, 2012 from HERE