People sitting on bean bags collaborating and working together.

Connect to Collaborate

“Collaboration allows us to know more than we are capable of knowing by ourselves” - Paul Solarz

Our theme for July was ‘Collaborate’ and in this blog, I share some insights on how to connect to collaborate and how this has shown up for in my life personally.

For as long as I can remember I’ve believed in the power of collaboration to not only achieve a particular goal, but more importantly to authentically connect and build relationships with others, either on a personal or professional level.

Reflecting on the title of this blog also got me thinking that in the age of social media, the capacity for collaboration is literally at our fingertips…. we can collaborate with others by joining Facebook or Linked In groups for a particular cause. At the same time, we are also often bombarded with information from multiple sources encouraging us to ‘sign up for this’; ‘join this webinar which starts in 30 minutes’; ‘buy this product or programme that guarantees results’ and the list goes on and on… and it sometimes feels to me as though the capacity to connect has been lost and replaced with marketing tactics that pull at our emotional strings, so to speak.

Within the organizational context, research also suggests that the unused potential of people in organizations is somewhere between 30% and 50%, depending on their level of engagement.  I often wonder, what would happen if we could release this unused potential…what impact will this have on employees, leaders, organizational culture and business results? What is absolutely clear for me, is that all-round success is inextricably linked to the level of collaboration between colleagues, leaders, teams, departments and possibly even geographies!

The late Nelson Mandela, better known to the world as Madiba, was one individual who really leaned into collaboration, regardless of his painful history, in particular, spending 27 years in prison. On the 18th July 2018, which also marked his centenary, we revered Madiba’s legacy, a man who not only changed the trajectory of our country, South Africa but who also influenced world leaders and broader humanity through his selflessness, collaborative spirit and humanitarianism. He had a vision to fundamentally shift the consciousness in our country by collaborating with other political and world leaders to create unity amongst all South Africans. This got me thinking that it started with his vision of a better life for one and all.

Individually we also have this capacity within us to create our own life experiences by intentionally collaborating either on a personal or professional level to achieve an objective that serves multiple layers….our families, friends, colleagues, social networks, causes we care deeply about; and in this manner we continue to build interdependent teams across all facets of our lives. This is cultivating the true essence of what it means to connect to collaborate.

As I end this blog, I invite you to consider these five tips when an opportunity next presents itself for collaboration:

  • Discern what collaboration means to you personally;
  • Consider your motivation and intention for the collaboration;
  • Reflect whether the collaboration will serve you only or will it enable and empower you to better serve others?
  • Consider how collaborating with colleagues at work can enhance team and organizational performance;
  • Consider the impact of collaboration across multi-disciplinary and multi-generational teams.

Affirmation: “I believe in collaboration, because I know within every fibre of my being that this results in greatness.
Reflection: “What limiting belief, thought or behavior is holding me back from truly collaborating with others?