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Together is More

Over the last few months, I’ve slowly introduced a few of Share’s Guiding Principles. Last month we discussed how to live in the AND while getting more out of life by combining work AND play.

For December, I want to introduce another way to get MORE out of your career. Too often we try to accomplish everything ourselves, and end up taking on more responsibility than is necessary.

As a serial entrepreneur as well as a leader of emerging leaders who are very entrepreneurial, breaking the habit of trying to “go it alone” is paramount. Leaders who do not master the art of collaboration are overworked, or have limited results, or in some cases, both.

Our success at Share On Purpose is in large part because of the principle – Together is More: Collaboration Fuels Quality.

WHAT IS “TOGETHER IS MORE”?

The guiding principle Together Is More, is about collaboration. Collaboration as a discipline is not well understood because the corporate management system by which most professionals started their career, is deeply flawed. In most companies, failure is punished severely, which diminishes the willingness to take calculated risks, and includes an intense focus on individual accountability versus individual and team performance.

This translates into individuals and departments working independently, and in some cases against each other, rather than collaborating to win collectively. This lack of natural collaboration built into the cultural framework impacts productivity and results. It also slowly erodes trust as well as the ability to create a performance culture.

The guiding principle Together is More requires that the executive team model collaboration from the top down, as well as ensuring collaboration occurs throughout the organization. It’s something that’s not just “talked about” but is embedded into the entire management structure, as it is role modeled at all management levels.

WHY COLLABORATION IS KEY TO SUCCESS

Building a performance culture is, in large part, dependent upon the effectiveness of the organization’s ability to collaborate. Establishing a culture that has a foundation of collaboration will have a significant impact on the organization’s effectiveness.

However, it requires a win-win mindset from every level of the organization. For example, the executives and middle management MUST believe:

  • No one can win, unless we all win.
  • When an individual wins, we win as a team.

HOW DO YOU BUILD COLLABORATION INTO YOUR CULTURE?

Collaboration requires authentic leadership, as well as a commitment to win-win relationships between employees and managers, and the company and its contractors.

Beyond the commitment to strive for the “win-win,” the basis of all performance cultures is what I call “authentic leadership.”  Although there are 5 tenets of authentic leadership, one is particularly important in building collaboration into the cultural fabric – Assume Positive Intent. Leaders who are authentic have not only mastered a win-win mindset, but usually do so through mastering the ability to “assume positive intent.”

If we assume positive intent, the mind will begin to expect only positive outcomes in relationships. If someone still gets upset, hurts you, or takes advantage of you, it usually has nothing to do with your actions.

To do this means to assume the other person/entity/group meant well, even if we don’t agree with their actions or ideas. We then in turn, look for positive intent. When you enter any interaction assuming positive intent from the other party, relationships will improve.

No one really sets out to purposefully hurt us. People are just wrestling with their own issues. So, if you assume positive intent, you’ll find that most people rise to the expectation, and when they don’t, know they are doing the best they can and their reaction has little to do with you.

This is a powerful leadership lesson that facilitates a culture of collaboration, and supports a performance culture. I am grateful that our top executives model this attribute and have adopted a collaboration mindset.

If a place that has an authentic collaboration among all of its team members sounds like a place you would want to work for, consider applying for one of our open positions.