Effective collaboration is the most important part of any high-performing team, it is also one of the most effective tools for small businesses.
Collaboration, when executed well, means getting things done better and faster. Collaboration is how the world’s best work happens.
We are well aware that it works, but few are using the critical factors that make it work. As our Wealthy Woman Warrior™ platform gains traction daily, I can honestly say that it’s due to collaboration and using this specific formula.
Let’s define collaboration first, then I’ll move into the 3 critical factors you can implement, so that collaboration will create success for you and those you’re working with. It’s time to use collaboration so women can reach their potential.
What is collaboration exactly?
My definition is this: “Collaboration is when two or more people work together towards shared goals.”
Sounds simple, right? The concept is simple yet the practical application is more complex. There’s actually a lot packed into those 9 words! It’s important not to oversimplify the concept, yet that is where most struggle to make collaboration work effectively. For that reason, I created the 3 critical factors to use so that collaboration is a successful means for corporate women and entrepreneurs alike.
Let’s break down the sentence itself so that the three concepts can be clearly identified and can be practically applied to get things done better and faster.
The 3 Critical Concepts of Collaboration Can Be Broken Into The 3 P’s:
- Providers – “Two or More People”
- Process – “Working Together”
- Purpose – “Towards Shared Goals”
For something to be a true Collaboration, you need to have equal providers, using processes that lead to a shared purpose. The three ‘P’s are the three critical factors of successful collaboration. Let’s cover them with the application.
The 1st Critical Factor Of Successful Collaboration
Most would agree that having more than one person working on one specific project, always speeds up the process.
Where women often get caught is applying the factor “equal providers”.
For real collaboration to work, providers need to equally be providing and contributing.
What does this look like from a practical perspective? It means to be a collaborative provider you’re knowledge sharing, engaging, contributing, and communicating actively and equally.
In the 1980’s women engaged in this behaviour to help generate success as they broke into the corporate world. I wonder if it was easier then simply because the women of this generation were on equal footing – they were all starting at the same place trying to gain traction. Interestingly, in 2018, equal providing isn’t happening as much and it’s hindering women from better and faster results.
I wonder if this is happening simply because women are not valuing each other as equal or on equal footing.
Some will argue that they have more experience, some have more education, some have less training, others have more mentoring.
The one common thing all women have is value, so what happens when we shift the focus to valuing each other instead of competing?
This leads to the second critical factor for collaboration to work, helping create success for women.
The 2nd Critical Factor Of Successful Collaboration
The process is the second “P” from the definition of collaboration, denoting the concept of working together.
Processes involve a system or structure that partners follow together.
I’m a woman who, after working with athletes, corporate executives and women entrepreneurs, will always say, “Structure dictates function”. The collaboration will always create success when there are systems and structures in place that partners use equally to obtain the common goal.
Of interest, in the 1980’s when women were highly engaged in the collaborative behaviour, women used to have collaborative systems in place for babysitting children so that they could get their work done. I’ve documented numerous memories in my case studies of women sharing a story about how they would collaborate to become more successful. The story would cover the critical factor that the women collaborating had a system and structure to make it work for everyone participating equally.
For example, many shared with me a similar story where a group of women would agree on collaborative childminding. Tickets were handed out at the beginning of the year and for each childminding day you needed, you gave or received a ticket. The system allowed the partners equal opportunity to obtain a common goal – get into the workforce while having children, travel, shop, get to the gym, etc.
In today’s world, women have moved away from this type of collaborative system. Interestingly, most citing that “it’s easier to do it myself and not rely on anyone so that I’m never stuck”. Is it possible that all that’s missing is a system? Could having a system and partners alleviate burnout, overwhelm and stress?
The 3rd Critical Factor Of Successful Collaboration
The last part of the definition, ‘towards shared goals’ stands for purpose.
Out of all three critical factors to make collaboration successful, I believe this one is the most misunderstood.
Let me point out the misunderstanding for you. There is a massive difference between collaboration and cooperation.
Collaboration requires working together with a shared goal or purpose. If you do not have a shared purpose, you are not collaborating you are simply cooperating.
Cooperation is not synonymous. It has a limited level of commitment and dedication.
Cooperation has no vested interest in each others purpose, skills, knowledge or commitment. Lastly, Cooperation has less focused goals.
What I find in large corporations and with women entrepreneurs is that women will often cooperate with each other because they ‘have to’ or because they believe that in doing so they’ll advance personally. This is cooperating for one’s own benefit. Collaboration, on the other hand, has a vested interest in each others skills, knowledge and commitment because you are working towards one common goal or purpose. When your purpose is synonymous with another and you work with structure and systems, the collaboration will always create momentum. It is this momentum most women are struggling to create on their own, be it in corporations or as entrepreneurs.
CEO & Founder of Wealthy Woman Warrior™
Andrea created her proprietary mindset training, Power To Thrive™ over 15 years ago. We're now in a time where one's environment is constantly changing and pushing people mentally to their limits - if you don't have tools in place to help you navigate disruption, you simply need to get it. Invest in your mind and your success will follow.
Andrea Carter is on a mission to empower 1 million women to reach their economic potential by 2025. She believes that through collaboration and these 5 pillars women can rise to relevance.