Creating Productive Partnerships

Al Lee Creative Performance CatalystOne of the simplest and most effective ways you can become more productive and more successful at reaching your goals is to partner or collaborate with someone. Partnerships can take many different forms, but whatever form they take, the benefits can be well worth it.

Partnering makes the job seem smaller

One of the most interesting aspects of partnering is that it makes the job seem smaller. In his excellent and often quoted (by me) book “59 Seconds”, Richard Wiseman cites research showing that people estimating the steepness and difficulty of a hill they were to climb gave estimates that were 15% lower when they were going with a partner. Simply having a partner makes a job seem easier.

Partnerships Improve Engagement

A workforce study by the Gallup organization found that people who had a good friend at work were much more engaged. Having a partner to confide in, bounce ideas off of or just commiserate with appears to make us much more reliable, invested, and motivated.

Partnering Adds Perspective

I have had a sideline as a song-writing musician for many years. If you look at the writing credits for successful popular songs, you’ll notice that approximately 95% of them are co-written. Having a co-writer or partner keeps you honest, forces you to up your game, and adds critical perspective. Ideas that may be crystal clear in your mind may seem murky or confusing to others. It is also very important to have someone you trust who can tell you when an idea is just plain bad.

Partnering Improves Creativity

Partners also provide you with alternate perspectives, insight and experience that can both fill gaps in your own outlook and boost your own creativity. Seeing things through the eyes of others and understanding how they view the world can provide important inspiration that can lead to fresh new ideas and approaches.

Partnering Boosts Commitment

Most people will break promises to themselves much more quickly than a commitment they have made to someone else. Partnering with someone, or even communicating your goal to others, will boost your commitment to seeing your project or goal through to a successful conclusion.

Putting it to Work

If you are in a leadership position, find creative ways to create and facilitate these types of creative partnerships. Give your team opportunities to socialize, develop good working relationships and friendships, and learn more about their co-workers and what they do. Then provide them with opportunities to partner with others.

The Australian company Atlassian found a unique way to foster these collaborations and partnerships by allowing employees to work on whatever project they wanted, with whomever they wanted for one day each quarter. The only catch was, they had to present their work to the whole team at the end of the day over beer and pizza. They were amazed at how many new product ideas, features and bug fixes came from that one day of free play. It also allowed people to learn more about their teammates – their passions, skills and interests.

If you are a “solopreneur” join a mastermind group or find a friend or family member you can use as a sounding board. Simply communicating your goals to them will make you more successful.

Collaboration doesn’t require a lot of expense or effort, but can magnify your creativity, productivity, commitment and overall success. It can also make the journey much more fun.

What has your experience been with collaboration and partnerships? How has it impacted your results? Do share!

(Photo Courtesy US Army)

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