Why working on your own fails and proactive collaboration succeeds

I strongly believe that in order to achieve your targets and goals, you can’t do it alone. In some cases working alone may get the job done faster, however in my opinion I can assure you it’s not always the case and the quality of the final output will always be better when working with others. Think about every athlete you’ve watched, they have a team full of people that help them. They have people to help them look after their nutrition, mental state of mind, physical fitness and that’s only to name a few. You will have heard many times from these athletes that their success is because of the team they have around them. This is no different at work or in your business.

Okay, you’ve acknowledged that you need help with a particular task. Now it’s time to identify those people that you need help from and how to go about it. Take a look at my suggestions below:

Give them as much time as possible.

We are all busy people. As soon as you become aware that you need help, let your colleagues know asap. Giving them notice will allow them to schedule your work in advance and theres a more likely chance of them being able to help you too. Some times you won’t always have the luxury of time and the strength of your relationships with your colleagues will determine if they can support you in short notice too. I like to setup a project kick off meeting and invite all those colleagues who I think I’ll need help from at some point during the task or project. This also gives them the opportunity to give their input too.

What’s in it for me? Why should I help you?

People will ultimately think – what am I getting out of helping you? If there are mutual benefits from your piece of work, it’s important to sell them the benefits and how it will impact them positively. Of course sometimes there won’t always be a direct benefit to them and in which case it comes down to how good your relationship is as mentioned in the last section.

Let them get involved in how you get the tasks done

For some tasks there are always a few different ways to get the job done. I suggest asking for your colleague’s opinion on how to approach a task or project to see if there is a better way at doing them. If you require specialist skills then this isn’t always the case, however a fresh pair of eyes will always give a different perspective.

Proactively help a colleague – earn those brownie points!

If you see a colleague who may need your help, offer it to them openly (of course you’ll need to balance your own workload). I’ve worked with some colleagues who are shy at asking for help and actually don’t go to anyone. This is a great way to build relationships and earn those brownie points! You never know when you might need their help in the future, in which they will feel inclined to do so.

Recognise colleagues who have helped you.

This has got to be the most important point in this blog post. Anyone that helps you it’s important to say thank you in a timely manner. A simple thank you face to face goes along way or you could even get them a coffee or a small gift depending on the help they’ve given you. Don’t under estimate the power of gratitude.

Can you force collaboration?

Yes and no – this is a difficult one to answer. The success of a task or project will ultimately come down to working in a team and collaborative working occurs by default. I’ve found that if you get on well with your colleagues socially this has made a difference too, of course this isn’t always possible. If the relationship is strong, these people will always make time for you at last minute when required and this goes both ways too.

For projects that follow a strict methodology, collaborative working can be built in from the off and during every phase allowing for work to be scheduled in advanced.

It’s important to acknowledge that everyone who you will work with will have their own job to do. Giving them enough time, being proactive with helping them and providing recognition goes along way to getting the support you need.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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