The shocking moment for rising stars is when they meet someone who’s rising faster. For some of us this happens in fourth grade, for others it’s in college or on a job. The good news is that you’ve still got a way to get ahead. Even now. And it’s more fun. Hear how in my conversation with Zane Safrit.
Hint: You may be smart, hardworking, well-intended – even good-looking. Yet if you can’t collaborate with people extremely unlike you (they don’t act right – like you) you’re leaving opportunity on the table. In fact, you may be burning bridges. Use your talent fully with others. Here’s four barriers to successful collaboration:
1. We were raised, especially in the U.S. to look out for ourselves first. The maladapted lone hero who does it his way is a popular figure in our country. Group-centered successes aren’t conventional movie plots.
2. We weren’t taught to create and work in teams. Luckily, for the past 15 or so years, many students have been studying in groups after school so they’re adept at sharing and collaboration.
3. Working with others we lose control. We are vulnerable to the weakest link, the goof-off or control freak or other wrong team member. Yet, like working alone, collaboration involves a learning curve. You get better at starting simple, sizing up partners, doing more due diligence about them.
4. Starting conversations by talking about oneself, giving background, taking too long before suggesting the “sweet spot” of mutual benefit when recruiting others. Instead describe the opportunity upfront, what’s in it for them and what that person brings to the table, as a teammate.
Then adept Me2We opportunity-makers describe the rest of the team they have or want and why. At each step they seek other’s suggested improvements. They don’t even have to be in charge if there is a better player to help us accomplish the goal.
Some are natural opportunity-makers. Entrepreneurs are instinctively Me2We, especially those involved in start-ups. They keep in touch with diversely talented people, brainstorm ideas and love to look for opportunities.
l seek role models who’ve honed their ability to be specific about a singular goal, recruit the right players, care for their stakeholders – and bring out the best side in others. Some include Stephanie Evans, Brad Feld, Anita Campbell, Jim Fruchterman, Mimi Silbert, Ben Casnocha, Michelle Obama and Jeff Skoll.
Got an idea? Feeling stuck? Underfunded? Alone? Seeking a new way to work and live? Ironically, the key is often involving people you may not yet know. But they have the skills, the resources or the contacts you don’t. It is for us that I have been writing this blog.
In this increasingly transient, time-starved, connected world people crave camaraderie and shared success. Adopt a Me2We approach with others to generate more money, friendship, independence – to live a bigger life. In this kind of collaboration, the icing on the cake is the thrill of creating something greater – with others – than one can alone.
Who knows? You may find yourself the co-author of the colorful adventure story you are meant to live. Co-create new chapters with engrossing characters, lively scenes, exciting plot twists and more meaningful outcomes.
What ways have you already collaborated to create something greater – with others?