The Art of Collaboration
1. Establish a positive thought pattern.
Everything good flows from positive thought, and you have a choice whether you see things in a negative or positive way. When your thoughts focus on what you feel are the negative aspects of collaborative efforts, you tend to experience more negative emotion — not just surrounding the effort itself but in other areas of life, as well. That’s because you’re allowing the negativity to preoccupy your thoughts. Ask yourself: “How do I feel when I am in that negative place?”
Many managers have told me how their negative thoughts create blocks that impede their ability to be productive or think clearly and how the opposite is true when they’re feeling positive. Breaking the cycle of negative thought patterns and manifesting positive thought becomes important in order for managers to bring about progress.
Often, it’s a simple reframe of the current situation that will create a shift in energy from negative to positive and inspire you to take action. Looking at a collaborative effort with another organization is negative if you start by saying, “This is a waste of time that will not yield anything for us.” Even if the collaboration doesn’t work out, is it really a waste of time? Another way to approach the effort is to see the not-so-obvious benefits that are being overlooked. Possibly a collaborator on the other side has a contact at an organization you’ve been trying to do business with; maybe you’re introduced to a more effective business model; maybe your new director of operations is sitting across the table from you; or you simply might learn something new. Thus, every situation can be an opportunity, as long as you choose to see it that way.
2. Set your intentions before each meeting.
Sometimes it’s not enough to go into a meeting with the right numbers and information. It can be very helpful if you take a few moments before the meeting to tell yourself exactly what you want to happen, how you want the meeting to go and what you expect to achieve. It’s a way of programming your mind to act in accordance with your desires.