A key benefit of collaboration is the ability to come up with the best solution by working together. There is so much more to gain besides – for you, for the group, for what you want to achieve, and for the people around you.
We can be motivated by what we're doing, with whom, and for what end. But a really strong motivator is what makes us feel good.
When we genuinely collaborate to achieve an outcome – not just sharing and cooperating, but generating solutions together – it is exciting. It opens up new possibilities, unleashes your imagination, is self-affirming, and drives you to improve, learn and grow.
Collaboration can have different personal benefits for each collaborator, but combining all that self-motivation will create a really strong group dynamic.
Mutual respect is a core principle of collaboration. You're there because you have something to contribute, irrespective of your everyday role and responsibilities or hierarchical norms. This means collaboration is a leveller which can be incredibly freeing.
If it makes sense to achieve your desired outcomes collaboratively, then you will increase the quality of your outputs, your outcomes will be more effective, and you will change things for the better for your intended beneficiaries.
Collaborative culture strips away the barriers to effective collaboration. This culture is embedded through the process of doing. Your effort can also enable collaborative culture to develop if you collaborate in a more challenging environment.
Essentially, the benefits of collaboration are:
Individual – it motivates you and your co-collaborators to imagine new possibilities, to develop and to grow
Group – it strengthens the group, enabling it to achieve more successful outcomes, and opens the door to future collaborations
Outputs – the outputs will be developed using diverse perspectives, driven by the outcomes the group jointly wish to achieve, not for individual gain
Outcomes – beneficiary perspectives will be built into the collaborative process which means that outcomes will be more impactful
Culture – you and your co-collaborators are helping to create or strengthen a collaborative culture for the people around you, sparking new collaborations to improve and innovate
All attempts at collaboration won't necessarily be successful and uplifting. And that's often why we give up or think it's easier not to try. Collaboration works if it's a good way to find a solution in a given situation, the people involved essentially want to collaborate, and you recognise that it can take time and energy to create the conditions for collaboration to succeed.
The most important how of collaboration is all about you and how you think. So that will be the subject of the next blog.