At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, General Motors and Lyft announced that they would be collaborating to build a network of on demand autonomous vehicles that will make getting around more affordable, accessible and enjoyable.
Very exciting news for the future of these two companies! This is also a very smart collaboration for them and for the consumers who use Lyft. Although these organizations produce different products and services, they could visualize how they could support one another and grow their brands. It takes great leadership vision to see how working with someone else from an entirely different industry can be a growth opportunity and a win-win for both organizations.
The same thinking can be explored for each of us no matter where we work or whatever our field. We can ask ourselves: Who could we collaborate with this year to help us build our brand or career and at the same time help someone else grow too?
The collaboration journey doesn’t stop there; it is just the beginning. Before inviting a person or company to join us at the table, we need to set ourselves up for success.
Here are 8 ways to lead your best collaboration ever:
1. RESEARCH THE BEST-FIT PARTNER
To locate a great person or organization to collaborate with can take research and patience. It is usually a good idea to find someone or some company that complements our skills. We should never be afraid of collaborating with a talented person, thinking they may outshine us. Just the opposite is true! When we work with gifted individuals or successful firms, we will create the best and most innovative products or services.
2. SET UP A MEETING WITH ALL STAKEHOLDERS
Oftentimes collaborations fail because not everyone affected is part of the initial decision-making. It is critical to reach out to all possible stakeholders to get their input and perspective. It could save you confusion down the line.
3. CREATE A CLEAR VISION TOGETHER
Once all the necessary players are in place, focus on developing a concise vision that meets the criteria for the collaboration.
4. CHOOSE SPECIFIC RESPONSIBILITIES
Assigning specific tasks to each person or organization is important so that all the steps are covered and each knows what is expected of them. This action, if not done with clarity, can derail a collaboration easily. Additionally, folding the process and procedures into the vision and direction is key.
5. ESTABLISH FEEDBACK AND CHECK-IN MECHANISMS
Mutually build in timeframes to get back to one another so that the collaboration stays on track.
6. CHAMPION ONE ANOTHER
No matter how the collaboration goes down, it’s important for the participants to support one another. Staying positive and optimistic is important. Also, many managers I work with in collaborations have shared the value in praising people for their hard work and contributions.
7. ALWAYS BE HONEST
If there isn’t any honesty during a collaboration, there will never be a successful outcome. We need to stay open-minded but truthful in how we feel. If something doesn’t seem right or sound right, we need to have the courage to speak up. There is no place for “group thinking” just to move things along. That type of mentality will merely lead to inaccurate or less than optimal results.
8. CELEBRATE THE WIN
When the collaboration is complete, celebrate the success. We need to take stock in our collaborative achievements.
How have you led a successful collaboration? What strategies would you add?