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Some of Your Best Thinking Will Be Done With Others


“Success begins with we, not me. No one person has all the answers."

-- John C. Maxwell

The Law of Collaboration is near and dear to my heart, though I wouldn't have always said as much.

I grew up as a very independent individual. In school, I wouldn't say I liked group projects because I felt like people added an unnecessary obstacle to my work; I could do it faster and better by myself. As I entered the professional world, my opinion didn't change until much later; I knew what needed to be done and how I wanted to do it, and people rarely lived up to my standards. My change of heart began as I better understood myself and how I fit into the world around me. I could see how I could complement the people I worked with to help fill the gaps and offer a different perspective. The more I recognized how I did this for other people, the more it sunk in that they did the same for me!

As John Maxwell says, "No individual is completely well-rounded and balanced. But teams can be."

Others Have Different Perspectives

Involving others allows you to see your communication through a different lens. Because of your personality, strengths, and experiences, you see the world a certain way. This isn't a bad thing, but involving others who have different perspectives will help you to expand your view of yourself, your audience, and the world and become a better communicator and grow as a person.

Others ask Different Questions

Because you can only naturally see through your own life and experience, there may be questions that you would never stop to consider. However, including others in your process means they fill that gap and ask the questions you haven't considered. This allows you to better connect with your audience by diving deeper into your subject matter, process, and presentation in ways that would have been impossible by yourself.

"We should not only use all the brains we have, but all the brains we can borrow." -- Woodrow Wilson

Others Help Maintain Focus

Last week, we explored the Law of Preparation and how it's essential to prepare your message by asking:

  • What do I want them to see?

  • What do I want them to know?

  • What do I want them to feel?

  • What do I want them to do?

By collaborating with others who understand you and your message, they can help you stay on track and in focus. It's easy for us to get sidetracked in our busy world, but by surrounding yourself with people who can support you, you are putting guard rails in place to ensure your message connects the way you want it to.

Intentional Collaboration

Just because collaboration is a must if you want to go far doesn't mean that you should collaborate with just anyone. When looking to collaborate, look for individuals to join your team who:

  • Have an abundance and options mindset; they believe that there are always solutions and options to move forward.

  • Ask and answer good questions; "the more well-thought-out the questions are, the better the answers will be, and the when the questions are asked in the spirit of improvement, not criticism, the more helpful they will be."

  • Generate ideas and spark creativity; "the best way to get a great idea is to put together many good ideas."

  • Give honest feedback; anyone can give valuable feedback, but the people who are great at doing what you do can help identify and implement even better solutions.

This week, answer these questions:

  • Who do you know that you can add to your collaboration team?

  • What books or resources can you use as second-hand collaboration?

  • How can collaboration transform your communication and other areas of your personal and professional life?

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