June 29, 2016 by Kelly Rusk

An Elaboration on the Best Practices of Collaboration

If people never thought to put their skills and ingenuity together throughout our history, we may have never flown in an airplane, understood the human genome or used the word “google” as a verb. A world without collaboration would be a very dull place.

Luckily, that’s not the case. Instead, silos are being broken down and there are more opportunities than ever to partner up and create something better within a company, between two brands or among hundreds or even thousands of people.

To prove the power of many minds, Director of Strategic Services Christina Flavell and Creative Writer Melissa Muldoon teamed up to delve into what it takes to make collaboration successful. The duo then narrowed their research and findings down to the key insights below.

Working as a well-oiled machine

Highly collaborative internal interactions allow companies and organizations to be more innovative, efficient and competitive. However, achieving internal collaboration is easier said than done.

Ironically, many leaders may achieve a senior position in an organization because they are able to operate very independently, and be unilaterally decisive. Yet, technology success story Cisco emphasizes that a culture of collaboration is fostered from the top down. Cisco executives Ron Ricci and Carl Wiese point out that leaders in fact “have to model behaviors that embody the way you’d like your employees to work… and relentlessly pursue transparent decision-making — showing your employees that you walk the talk.”

Creating together without being together

At Banfield, we are big believers in the value of face-to-face communication and collaboration. We have the luxury, though, of working together under the roof of one house. Many companies and organizations are simply too big for direct interactions to occur on a regular basis. In these situations, digital tools can foster collaboration very effectively.

A few years ago, massive engineering conglomerate Siemens, with over 65,000 employees, focused on increasing internal online content sharing and commentary. The concerted effort to encourage collaboration, was championed at the corporate level, and included social polling, videos and blogs, through a significant investment in a revamped intranet platform.

Embarking on adventures as a pair

Successful brands are that way because they are experts in their own category. They live and breathe their products and services and innovate by enhancing their specific knowledge. This is all well and good for individual product growth, but when it comes to broader brand partnerships, experimentation is key.

And this is exactly what MacKenzie-Childs and Girls Inc. did last year when they joined forces to create a holiday ornament fundraiser. The two organizations come from opposite backgrounds and serve opposite markets but by trying something new, they were able to accomplish much more, even attracting a third partner, Neiman-Marcus, for the distribution of the ornaments.

Embracing organized chaos

Bringing together countless people to take part in a mass collaboration is no easy feat. From the logistics to organizing and planning, it takes a lot of hard work. But more than anything, the most testing task is to make participants feel enabled and connected to one another and the project.

A company that takes this idea and runs with it by offering a solution that did not previously exist is Go Fund Me. This online tool brings together 1000’s of people to rally together and raise millions of dollars for people in need, often who they do not know in person.

All of these examples highlight the fact that collaboration, while complicated, can engender success in terms of leadership, organizational culture, innovation, brand building and much more, that simply can’t be matched by any individual person or company working in isolation. So amp up your collaborations and reap the benefits!

Are you ready to put our heads together and create something amazing for your company? We would love to partner up, get in touch!

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