“Two heads are better than one,” or so the saying goes. It would seem that—at face value at least—most people agree. 75 percent of employers consider teamwork and collaboration to be “very important” to the success of the business, according to Clear Company, but when it comes to implementing those values in practice, many organizations struggle to effectively evaluate such skills and habits among their team members, with as little as 18 percent of employees receiving feedback on their communication abilities during performance reviews.
The disconnect between the perceived value of collaboration and our ability to successfully negotiate teamwork is widely felt; most people would say they prefer to work independently on a task, and it’s not without good reason. “The truth is, our brains work very well individually, but tend to break down into groups,” Jeff Stibel explains to Harvard Business Review. “Programmers are exponentially faster when coding as individuals; designers do their best work alone; artists rarely collaborate and when they do, it rarely goes well. There are exceptions to every rule, but in general, this holds true.”
If so many of us struggle on some level with being team players, then why do we place such a premium on collaboration? The answer, of course, is that things that are good for us aren’t always easy, and there are tons of potential benefits to creative collaboration for every industry. Kip Skibicki, the founder of Top Notch Threads and StarChild Management, speaks to the power of cooperation and teamwork for his startups’ success.
One of the best reasons for fostering an environment of collaboration is the creative energy it generates, which can help your business drive innovation and stay competitive. When you embrace the uniqueness of each employee and contributor and become truly receptive to their ideas, your business will earn a wealth of new ideas.
“Each person has a unique perspective that is developed through their culture, education, background, and life experiences,” explains Marketing.com. “When individuals are openly solicited for their ideas and asked to collaborate, they may bring their thoughtful ideas to the open for discussion… taking a collaborative approach is a great way to re-invigorate your business with contagious energy.”
Skibicki knows the value of harnessing all that creative energy since his businesses rely on it to thrive. Between operating a talent agency and a street fashion clothing company, he collaborates with some extremely creative minds every day to build his success.
“Patience and understanding,” he stressed when asked what he has learned from working with so many artistic types to energize his business. “Creativity is key with artists, and letting their creative brain do what it does best, so patience and understanding are key.”
“Working in a team is like a puzzle; every member has a unique shape that becomes part of the big picture,” reasons Cogswell College. “Being able to experience the role of each and every puzzle piece, regardless of the professional area or discipline they come from, helps each individual realize his/her own role and that role’s importance in the entire project.”
This sentiment echoes Skibicki’s thinking; it may take patience and diligence to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle, but without that effort, you’ll never get to see the full picture or get an end product. But to get everyone on board with sharing their piece of the puzzle, you’ll have to create an atmosphere of open dialogue and discussion.
“Be open to new opportunities and people in general,” advises Skibicki. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself and voice your opinion.” As the head of your business and director of company culture, you’re going to have to lead by example both in being vocal about your vision as well as being receptive to the suggestions of others. “It’s a learned art,” Skibicki said of the balancing act.
Effective collaboration can also help your business network and gain exposure, which is a critical component of any successful venture. “Being successful in business requires that you consistently make connections and form alliances,” says The Balance. “While every contact you make may not result in collaboration, every time you reach out to someone to explore the possibility, you are expanding your network.” Collaboration and networking go hand in hand and mutually benefit one another, and both are educational opportunities crucial to your long-term growth and potential.
In an ever-increasingly connected world, it’s critical for businesses to find ways to innovate more quickly to keep up with market demand and competition. Because partnerships and collaboration can help generate and sustain the kind of creative energy it takes to be disruptive, brands should focus on finding ways to effectively encourage cooperation between teams and colleagues.
What strategies have helped your startup foster collaborative energy? Share your insights in the comments below.
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