The dictionary definition of collaboration is “The act of working together with one or more people in order to achieve something”
The most successful people in business are those who put their competitiveness aside and work with others combining their strengths with those who possess complementary skills, services and products to achieve a common goal. Being aware of one’s own abilities, be they soft skills or specialisms, and working collaboratively invariably leads to a better outcome. There is no benefit in envying another person’s capacities, poaching an others customers or ‘bad-mouthing” the competition.
Rather than using energies focused on trying to outdo someone who has strengths you don’t have or denying your own strengths; by focusing on how you can ‘work together’ you focus on your joint demographic and achieve your common goal. Knowing what you can contribute and being able to work with others who possess skill sets beyond yours can extend the value of your services and products thus giving you a greater market share.
For example, if your talent is as a seamstress and you have one friend who has strong financial skills and another who is a talented interior designer, you could collaborate in a business venture where each of you contributes your abilities to launch a business; the interior designer could provide the designs, the financial person could attract investors and keep the project on track and the seamstress could manufacture the soft furnishings. Let’s take this one step further, by working as a collaborative team with an architect, an estate agent, a garden designer, a furniture maker, a decorator etc, the solutions for a home buyer or home improver become endless. Each person working independently could not be nearly as successful as when they combine their skills to provide an exceptional service and together build a successful customer base. The world needs people who work together harnessing what they’re good at and seeing others as the complement to achieve.
The phrase ‘putting our heads together’ perfectly describes the most important element of collaboration. Two or more people with a strong sense of purpose and common goal with an undeniable drive to ‘make-things- happen’ can focus their energy and achieve so much more. Collaboration in business consistently provides greater accomplishment. When it works, the combined intellect of two or more people can solve complex problems and achieve amazing results.
Conversely, competition is, in general, a contest or rivalry between two or more businesses, individuals or groups for the same territory, niche, resources, goods, prestige and profit. It arises whenever at least two parties strive for a goal which cannot be shared, where one’s gain is the other’s loss. Many businesses work in this manner, usurping their power, aggressively cornering the market, and pursuing wealth, power, prestige, and fame at all costs and above any social or ethical conscience.
Whilst some competition is good with regards attaining higher customer care and improved processes forcing businesses to reach a higher quality of services or improved products; with regards business development principles, I believe this attitude to be counter-productive.
There are only 2 ways of working:-
- Competitively “The activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others”
- Collaboratively “The act of working together with one or more people in order to achieve something”
Ask yourself, how would you rather work?
Now make it happen.