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Business Success: Collaborative Thinking is the New Black

By September 5, 2015December 19th, 2016No Comments

There is absolutely no doubt there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to individual growth and success plans.

The days of hiding in a corner office, gazing out the window in splendid isolation, are over.

To forge a successful path, it’s about engagement with others and understanding there is no “I” in team.

Collective intelligence on a commercial level is the new currency. Appreciating the value of an intellectual bank and what it brings to your business and career is not just forward-thinking on a theoretical level, it’s a bottom-line positive. Engaging on a team level brings strategic power to an organisation that is simply not possible with people working in silos, where there is no sharing of thoughts or discussion leading to development.

Move into the “we” space, of collaborative team engagement, and the thought space opens up.

Commercial collaboration and collective intelligence drives innovation, speed to market and a sharing of expertise and insight to drive growth — in profit, in revenue, in engagement, in personal performance.

So how do you move from me to we?

• Share credit when credit is due: everybody needs accolades, no matter how insignificant their part in the eventual win is critical. This leads to greater engagement and trust. In return, team members feel empowered and likelier to give a better performance, and future projects will be even more successful, leading to larger rewards for you.

• Share your weaknesses: too often in the workplace, we see admitting a lack of knowledge or understanding as admitting to failure, when it is a strength. By showing our team we are willing to seek help and show vulnerability, we build trust and encourage others to admit the same issues. If there is a problem an individual is far likelier to speak up sooner and avert a disaster.

• Appreciate the value of intellectual currency: it’s rapidly becoming apparent that skills are an increasingly valuable currency for business. Suggest to a teammate that you swap a skill for a skill. Teach each other something you previously had no knowledge of. Increase collective intelligence.

• Stand up and be counted: if you think an idea can be bettered, don’t just sit there. You have a responsibility as a leader to make decisions, start change and be a part of the whole — and that involves shaking the tree. Collaboration rather than isolation can be uncomfortable in the short term, but the long-term rewards benefit the team.

• Become a part of the leadership funnel: sponsoring others is important to stop the talent drain we are seeing in corporate. Taking on the responsibilities of a sponsor means you are willing to engage and give back to a potential leader.

• Network: professional networks are essential to give support, encouragement and knowledge along the upward progression path. This isn’t the whole “have as many people as possible in your email list” type of network but like-minded thinkers who understand what you want to achieve and who you want to support.

Collaboration is a way to stabilise and stand firm in a shifting and unsteady commercial environment. Collaborative thinking — togetherness — drives change.

Janine Garner is the chief executive of LBDGroup.

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