COLLABORATION between business people is nothing new but often the concept needs to be taken down from the shelf and dusted off.
In our urge to grow our businesses we tend to go down a singular path – a path that initially we focus on that has no room for others, we wrongly assume that keeping things to ourselves will keep competition at bay but all it does is stifle possible innovation and partnership working.
Collaboration can take many forms.
It can be between work colleagues to come up with the best ideas for the company – as the saying goes “two heads are better than one”.
It can be amongst the supply chain to get the best result, at the most competitive price, or it can be between groups of similar businesses to win work in a set geographical area.
Businesses need to start thinking in terms of “we” not “I”.
It is not the company director that needs to win, but the best idea or concept at any given time.
Any business owner will very quickly realise that they can’t possibly do everything on their own.
If you don’t collaborate, your ideas will be limited to your own abilities, resulting in your inability to serve your clientele or being able to get the desired outcome that you want.
Collaboration is therefore common amongst professionals.
You may be the best chef or engineer but can you manage your accounts or have an understanding of your IT needs?
Outsourcing or collaboration with other companies to get the best outcome for your business is the sensible way for most people to grow their business.
The recent cry for collaboration in the oil and gas sector is certainly the way to move forward, but it is a pity that it has taken a decline in the sector to bring people to their senses.
Collaboration on ideas, costs and innovation will mean the difference between success and failure.
In my own working life I have always believed in collaboration.
If you don’t know the answer, have the confidence to pick up the phone and ask someone who does.
Surround yourself with the right team, both internal and external.
The worst leaders are those that surround themselves with clones of themselves in order to always get “yes” answers.
What successful businesses need is people who you trust to challenge your point of views and then of course, you have to have the ability to listen.
Collaboration can come about through professional organisations or networking groups, and that is why I set up Aberdeen Entrepreneurs to give a platform for business owners or professionals to listen to sector experts, learn and socialise.
The latter is just as important as we all work hard and need some downtime.
Collaboration means sharing so hopefully giving you more of that “me” time.
So to conclude, the word “collaboration” is not just an “in” phrase to use but one that we as a company have embraced throughout our business life and we believe we “walk our talk” and don’t just use the language.