Last night I had the opportunity to attend an event where new ideas were presented to a team of corporate executives. Sure, most of you have been there, done that… but this event had the public, and more specifically women, dive in over the last 90 days and then present their ideas on different offerings to the corporation. The company is trying to be more direct about marketing to women, so rather than sitting around conference room tables trying to figure out what we want, for the last couple years they have been bringing in groups of women and asking them to brainstorm and then give their take on what is working, not working and present the new ideas that would attract this segment of the market. I have been involved as a group member (last year) and then as an observer last night. It is amazing the energy that flies when ideas are springing forth and one idea begets another or an add on to make it even better. It is also amazing when you see your ideas put into action and watch as the execs take notes, ask questions and commit to you and your ideas.
It really makes me think once again about the true meaning of collaborating. These teams of women do not know each other, but they come together for 90 days and figure out how to collaborate with one another and make it worthwhile. It ends up being a “win/win” for all parties. The women feel connected and empowered, the company gets another perspective and gains a loyal customer in these women. Isn’t that what collaboration is? Coming together to work out the win/win. It also reminds me that it is not about the technology; many of these women do not use anything more than meetings and email– it is about the willingness to listen, to share and to participate. Technology is a great avenue for this in so many situations, but we can never forget it is the willingness to collaborate first and foremost. Happy Collaborating!
I have found myself lately working so much on trying to get others to collaborate or use tools or think how they can use the tools better that I myself became silo’d and cutoff. Business, kids and volunteer stuff has been keeping me so busy that I have forgotton about the beauty and necessity of collaborating with those I trust and can bounce ideas off of. So this week, I shifted my silo’d attitude to a collaborative attitude (once again) in my personal life. Wednesday night I went to a women’s entrepreneue event with Ladies Who Launch on “Sexy Metrics.” Typically I hate financial metrics and playing the finance hat in my business, BUT this was actually fun and so helpful as well as practical and collaborative! Bring wine, chocolate and women together and we can make any topic sexy! Next was my phone call with Joyful Business owner Laura Howard West–believe it or not it was on MONEY again. OK, so you don’t have to hit me over the head (or maybe you do…). So finances again and business measurements— I come out of my silo and hear exactly what I need to and can bounce ideas and fears off of others with more and with less experience than I. It is all good–it was all collaborative, fun, exciting, focused and out of my silo! I needed a brick and a kick and I got one. I feel like I am in the world of my great friends again who collaborate with me, support me and always want to help me right where I need it. Thanks Ladies!
1. Capture Once– I loved that Brett put that first on his rules. I have said many a time that the technology will not work for you if it doesn’t replace something or make your life easier. Who wants to touch things twice? Waste of time it is then!
2. Touch it once- Brett called it Process Once– my mantra is “Touch it Once” It does not matter to me if you are talking an email or cleaning a closet–touch it once.
3. Resist printing– I must admit printing can be my downfall. As much as I love the options technology affords me, I must confess that I still love paper at times for reading and for taking notes. I am trying to clean up my act in this arena however; I am printing less and recycling more but I have a ways to go!
4. Don’t use email to collaborate, use it to communicate. I really do love this one. Email is great and I am not a proponent (like some) to do away with it. BUT let’s use it correctly. I do fall into the trap at times of collaborating with it; but am a believer in not using it this way. Use IM, wikis, blogs, shared workspaces, etc.
5. Links yes, attachements no. Yes, yes, and yes!
6. Store in a searchable repository. Sharepoint is a great solution for this along with EMC products.
7. Be a sharer not a hoarder- I think this is easier for some than others. BUT hoarding information is getting you NO WHERE. Be the go to person and seek out the go to people. Stop feeling threatened by giving it away! Give it away and see it explode! Ideas blossom once they are out there. You can’t possible know it all so why not give someone an opportunity to expand on your knowledge and you on theirs!
8. Use real time communication- web conferences, im, etc are great for getting stuff done fast!
Now my added practices:
9. Listen – even when you think you have it 100% correct, listen. You will probably find out that you really weren’t 100% on and the other person has something worthwhile to contribute. Afterall collaboration is about the meeting of the minds and ideas right?
10. GO for consensus— again the win/win and consensus mentality makes up Collaboration doesn’t it? Open Source is a great example. No one person has all the answers and by working on a collaborative decision by consensus you have the best of lots of worlds and no one is a loser!
11. Offer up assistance and help. You know what your niche is–offer it up. When the tide is turned, someone will offer back to you their expertise.
12. Be a door not a wall. What I mean by this is be a pathway to information rather than the person that is the block (we can’t, we won’t, etc.). Keep your door open and let others in.
What about you? How do you collaborate and keep the CQ going?