Collaboration in Action: The sum is always so much more than the individual parts put together

On September 29, 2017

Collaboration in Action: The sum is always so much more than the individual parts put together

Join me as I reflect on lessons from two companies that live and breathe collaboration…..

Meet the Role Players:

PENOLOGIC is a management consultancy established in June 2016, inspired by what on the surface only seemed to be a shared qualification and experience in coaching. When co-founders Matt White and I met at a coaching boot camp in 2016, little did we anticipate that less than a year down the line, we would have numerous opportunities to create impactful solutions together. We have been blessed to have an amazing team of associates, each with deep expertise to enrich our offerings tenfold! As I reflect on the business partnership in hindsight a few aspects stand out as critical ingredients for the successful partnership:

  • A shared abundance mindset
  • Genuine respect for diversity and inclusion
  • Passion and commitment to lifelong development and growth, both in self and others
  • Flexibility to lead and be led in different settings
  • The courage and resilience to navigate a range of business challenges together, all towards the achievement of a greater goal

Fuelled by a conscious choice to honour each human being irrespective of where they come from, what they look or sound like, believe in or practice and then to solicit as many diverse inputs as feasible on any business challenge or solution design makes PENOLOGIC grounds for great collaboration.

More about the above key success factors after some context setting on the second team.

The AVO String Quartet consists of experienced professionals in their own right outside the AVO context. AVO is a Pretoria based String Quartet, brought together by their deep passion, love of classical music and commitment towards creating a new, inclusive culture. Each of the team members are individually successful performers, so, what drives them to collaborate on a long-term basis?

What is at the heart of collaboration?

What does it take for individuals to form teams that choose partnering over individuality – or is this part of the success of a collarabitive culture?

Let’s imagine the mindset, core values, beliefs, practices and environments where collaboration flourishes for a moment.

I believe that at its core, collaboration is nurtured by a deep-rooted set of beliefs about connection, co-creation, success and making an impact in partnership with others.

In this space participants come from a place of self-mastery, where the challenges and tasks at hand are not about any of them per se, but are intended to contribute towards a course much higher than each person. In this space there is genuine belief that everyone’s perspectives are worthy of respect irrespective of who they are or where they come from. There is commitment to connect, listen deeply, engage without judgement or impatience to all voices in the room, to proactively invite those on the quiet side. Those who thrive in collaborative environments demonstrate a deep level of flexibility to step into second, third, fourth and fifth perspectives to look at any business challenge holistically, before arriving at a final solution.

When we step into our creative and business spaces, armed with an authentic appreciation of the power and value of what is co-created in partnership with others, we are able to unlock exponential value for our clients, customers and stakeholders. In our business it is common practice to ask ourselves:

  • What are we not seeing?
  • What other voices do we need to bring into our design space?
  • How would what we envisage be experienced practically?

One of the books I constantly refer to is Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s Business Secrets from the Bible: Spiritual Success Strategies for Financial Abundance. Bear with me here, this is not about what spiritual or religious beliefs one holds. We learn so much more from others when we look past what we see when we look at them for the first time or what we get to associate with them at our first meeting. Some of the lessons from his book that speak so aptly about collaboration and its benefits include:

  • “The Universe was created for connection”
  • “Everything important and joyful you have achieved has been in partnership with at least one other person”
  • “Your authentic identity requires other people”
  • “Know how business works; understand specialisation and cooperation”

It is wise for successful leaders to ask themselves on a regular basis: who is not on my radar as a potential associate/partner and how might I expand my lense and business offerings when I start collaborating more?

By Kgomotso Sekhute: Clinical Psychologist | Executive and Team Meta Coach | Human Capital Strategist

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