The Quest is a BeCollaboration digital publication
Issue Seven 2018
Collaborate - it’s just the new buzzword isn’t it? The theme of this issue is:
COLLABORATION IN BUSINESS
KAY WESTRAP GLEN WILLIAMSON JOE KAY NARESH HALDIPUR ANNE GOULD
Published by BeCollaboration, 21 Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey, KT6 4JZ UK Issue 7, first published on 23rd July 2018 All rights reserved. Copyright © BeCollaboration and Contributors, 2018 While aligned to the vision and values of BeCollaboration, the views expressed here are soley those of the contributors and are not expressions of policy on behalf of the BeCollaboration leadership. To experience a BeCollaboration Community, be our guest and come to a meeting. Register here.
For more details about The Quest and about BeCollaboration, visit our website at www. becollaboration.com. You can contact the team by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to one of the contributors whose contact emails can be found at the end of their articles. The Quest is a publication platform open to members of BeCollaboration to contribute to major debates and issues of concern. Operating within the UK economy, and part of a global economic system, contributors to The Quest hold a big picture. They are personally involved with complex issues that require the skills and intent of many to solve. They are on a passionate, sometimes a life-long search, to secure change in the world and as such hold a great responsibility for benefitting future generations. BeCollaboration believes in working for a world where every individual has the opportunity to be the best they can be: where we are empowered to recognize and honour our ‘innate genius’, exploit our full potential and make our dreams real. We seek a world where business and work are designed to meet a Human need for respect, to be valued, to achieve and to contribute to others. Most of all we seek a world where everyone has the opportunity to have their voice. 2
C O N T E N T S
About the contributors Editorial Collaborate - It's just the new buzzword isn't it Erkan Ali So what if I'm the only one giving? Kay Westrap Mastering digital collaboration for remote teams Joe Kay The connectedness of collaboration Glen Williamson Is it okay to be different? Naresh Haldipur Collaborator profile: Anne Gould
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About our contributors
Kay Westrap Kay Westrap has spent much of her career in the IT field in Investment Banking. Alongside this, she has developed and built websites for over 10 years supporting and helping SME businesses to grow. Her passion is to so help those with mental health issues. Multi-disciplined she uses techniques such as TFT (Thought Field Therapy), NLP, (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Hypnosis and Empowering Learning to enable her clients to unlock whatever is holding them back from experiencing true happiness. She is uniquely positioned to support collaboration in business from both the personal and professional perspective.
Joe Kay Founder and CEO of Enswarm Joe Kay is the Founder and CEO of Enswarm, a digital collaboration platform that helps remote teams structure their thinking to improve their problem solving abilities. He has always been passionate about teamwork and honed his expertise in this area as an army officer and helicopter pilot.
Glen Williamson Sales Consultant, Coach and Trainer As a Consultant Sales Director, Speaker and Accredited Master Coach (CSA), Glen Williamson leads and inspires hundreds of sales professionals and new business owners to reach new heights of sales performance. Taking his 32 years of experience in sales and business development, Glen develops methodologies that help SME’s and sales people to exceed their targets while transforming who they are being so that they can live happier, fuller and more fulfilled lives. Glen believes that sales is a collaborative process, part of who we are and how we survive, and at its core, must be a desire to ‘help’, not ‘sell’.
Naresh Haldipur Naresh sees the numbers as a window into the vision of a business. By understanding the numbers a business owner is able to fulfil on their vision.
Erkan Ali Creator and Co Founder of BeCollaboration & Ringmaster at Engage Talent Bringing multi talented teams together to create breakthrough performance is exactly what Erkan loves about his work. With over 20 years experience Erkan empowers business owners and their teams to meet and surpass their limits and achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Anne Gould Business Owner Smartphone Video for Business Training, PR and digital storytelling.
Editorial Gill Tiney
Collaboration in business – the new normal There is a lot of noise on the internet about collaboration, and in particular collaboration in business. A myriad of reasons are cited as to why collaboration is a good thing, and usually, in the top three, is the ability to either make or save money when collaborating. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg from BeCollaboration’s experience. Even looking at the 12 Principles of Collaboration, as identified by Chess Media, which includes, “Collaboration can make the world a better place” there are still many, many more virtues to be gained from understanding the fundamentals of how to collaborate.
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[Editorial - continued]
At BeCollaboration we have focused on creating a collaborative culture, as you will see from the articles here by our Collaborators. They demonstrate the mindset required for success, the true opportunity to build a win/win/win outcome – for the client, the Collaborator and the wider organisation (the world). From the digital world Joe Kay explains how an essential of good collaboration, a lack of ego, has been implemented into his platform. Having non-bias commentary supports the outcomes, as the team are no longer allowed to make judgement purely on personal preferences of who is making the suggestion. In other words, the person listening to your suggestion cannot make judgement on its worthiness from their bias around status, race, sex or ability. Your idea stands on its own merits because it is anonymous online, whilst still being credited to you for the benefit of the tracing your value. Obviously, this isn’t quite so easy to replicate around the board room table. Erkan Ali, Co Founder of BeCollaboration explains how INTEGRITY plays its part. “The human relationship is complex and confounds many projects by lack of awareness and unidentified prejudice. This is where many collaborations fail – people don’t know what they don’t know and can’t understand why others don’t see life from their perspective.” Kay Westrap looks at the human side of collaboration in business. About giving and taking, not being a doormat for others and making your voice heard. Real collaboration acknowledges everyone on a project and values each contribution equally. She had to go through a tough time to learn a lesson about herself and when she eventually came to the BeCollaboration community she felt at home straight away. An accountant is pretty conventional, right? They do the numbers and report the history of the company etc etc…. Not Naresh Haldipur. He has been part of BeCollaboration from the off, and he understands that many of his clients need to learn how to collaborate and he is on a mission to show them how. Benefits include better relationships, greater outcomes, shared projects, shared knowledge, budget savings and not to be dismissed – greater revenue. Even from a sales perspective collaboration makes sense. Glen Williamson has seen a correlation between effective collaboration and increased sales targets. He believes that all businesses should be embracing the opportunity not simply of looking to collaborate once or twice but incorporating it into everyday business life. 6
As an organisation BeCollaboration has created, (collaboratively of course) a program that delivers clear understanding of what it means to collaborate. The Art and Practice of Collaboration is available to support businesses who are looking to better understand how to incorporate collaboration in their organisation. You can find out more by contacting email@example.com Added to that our soon to be launched commercial offering. Engage powered by BeCollaboration www.engagebec.com This team of contributors to The Quest will be among the first key Collaborators to take the power of collaboration to the business world. Please contact Erkan@engagebec.com for more information.
About The Quest Team The Quest is produced by the BeCollaboration Digital Team and is made possible by, you.
For her proofreading skills, many thanks to Linda Burns. firstname.lastname@example.org
For marketing and communications, our huge thanks go to Scott Campbell of Affecting Peoples Lives email@example.com
For creating and the maintenance of the website and the proofreading, a huge thanks to Kay Westrap. firstname.lastname@example.org
For concept design, layout and art, our warmest gratitude to Angela Makepeace of Angela Makepeace Motion Graphics Studio email@example.com For being a great technical lead, our huge respect to Simon Thomas of Toucan Internet LLP. firstname.lastname@example.org
Our warmest gratitute to Anne Gould, for her proofreading skills. email@example.com For her driving force to bring the project to fruition, proofing and liaising with contributors, writing of editorial and case study and being our Team Dynamo we give huge thanks to Gill Tiney firstname.lastname@example.org
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SO WHAT IF I AM THE ONLY ONE GIVING?
Anyone that knows me will know that I am a and is a new skill I have to master, it is giving person. Nice, but is it? empowering. Not only for me but the person that I am refusing sees me in a different light. So, I had cancer a number of years ago and I am entitled to decline politely but still show I I distinctly remember when my sister told me love them. They see me as not just a solution she was ‘glad’ I had cancer! Yes, devastating to issues, but someone that has the strength right? Well no actually, I listened further and to exercise their rights, and still be loving and she then told me that all our lives I have not let supporting. her do anything for me and that I was so selfsufficient that she wanted to help me loads So how does this all relate to business? Well of times but couldn’t, and now I couldn’t help as business is all about people, if you don’t myself, she could do all the loving and giving have healthy giving and taking relationships, she liked, and I “could not stop her”. WOW that then you will just be the ‘office doormat’ that certainly told me something! everyone dumps their ‘stuff’ on and runs. When I got cancer I announced it to the world through Facebook (after calling my ‘rellies’ and mailing some of my close friends) and one of the things I said was not to be sorry for me as I wasn’t sorry for myself, but I knew this experience had a purpose. I knew I had something to learn, I just didn’t know what it was yet. Well, boy was this one of my profound learnings! So over the years, I have always been the one giving and not allowing anyone to give back it seems. I really didn’t see this – it was completely in my blind spot. All I knew was that when I gave, I felt a sense of achievement. Really, looking at it more cynically, I think it was more of a God complex. I wanted to bestow my love on others and make their world happy. But what was I losing as a result of that? I thought it was just financial but clearly, it wasn’t. I was losing the opportunity of allowing myself to be vulnerable, and to allow the other person the right to feel superior and giving, whilst I assumed the submissive role and was thankful.
In one of my corporate roles, I developed an acronym that I have used ever since: GIFOP. A GIFOP is Great Ideas for Other People. Time after time I would sit in our daily “war room” meeting and listen to others in the room come up with ‘great’ ideas that would invariably land at my door. They had no idea of the time these great ideas would take to execute and as they were not the one in the hot seat, they never cared! So patiently I would take all of the actions, AGAIN and leave the room overwhelmed. Then spend the day with my team running around like headless chickens, fulfilling the new “fire drill” actions then take the results to the following days meeting. You have probably have guessed the outcome already – that no one was interested in the results that we had spent ages on delivering! So this became a pattern, and I am my team quickly realised that while we were delivering these ‘GIFOPS’, we were not actually delivering the core of what would make a difference. So SOMETHING had to give!
I went to the next meeting armed with our list More recently I have been practicing saying of already established priorities, and when the “No”. While this is still wholly uncomfortable, GIFOPS started to fly wildly around the room, 9
“I have been practicing saying “No”. While this is still wholly uncomfortable, and is a new skill I have to master, it is empowering. Not only for me but the person that I am refusing sees me in a different light.”
I accepted the task, but then qualified the tasks, I came bearing good news that stuff could following: be removed! And that they could continue on the things that they were working, on that they How urgent was this new item? knew were the highest priority and gave great value and contribution. Where it would come in our already prioritised In my personal life, it has been more of a list? challenge. I have had to actively rehearse If we did this then something else would have saying no, and when the opportunity has arisen to stop being done – which of our urgent I have exercised it and felt empowered and activities would take a hit? liberated. Did they understand that this would take x In my own business again the temptation to amount of time and resource? be all things to all people is appealing. Being a salvation figure is my default posture, and I So suddenly, without saying “no” the GIFOPS love it when I get that feedback. But why is started to decline. They suddenly realised that? No one can be good at everything. So that although I looked like a Fairy Godmother, now I have learned to simply say “no I don’t I really didn’t have a team of mice that I could offer that” and that is ok. You would not expect wave a magic wand at and conjure up the to go to a restaurant where you are going to goodies. They realised that my resource was get a meal, and have that same restaurant be finite, and that if we did do their “great idea” expert in furniture making, plate making, cutlery then the other “great ideas” would slip down, making and so on. Yes, they need those things or off the list! to deliver your meal but they are not expected to be able to deliver every service you will ever So in that moment, I went from being the only need. Although the phrase ‘one-stop shop’ is one giving, to being part of a better-educated now widely used it is, in fact, a fallacy. If there team that understood and considered the ever was such a thing you would go there and relative priorities that we were working with. never ever leave because every single one of And my team thought I was a heroine too! your human needs would be fulfilled by one Instead of dreading me coming from the place. So it is just a phrase that we use and no meeting with a mountain of new and important more. 10
So what about collaboration? Surely that is giving as well? You donâ€™t get paid and you do it out of love right? WRONG! Collaborating is NOT taking advantage of other people, it is not giving out endless freebies, it is not you compromising your values for the sake of someone else. What it is, is a meeting of hearts and minds and sharing the tasks and responsibility for something. But also sharing the rewards that come from it, both emotional and tangible. So you SHOULD get paid at some stage if it is a commercial venture and you should be clear about that at the outset. At what point do we envisage this venture to bring in revenue? What is our financial model? What ongoing overheads do we have to take into account? And so on. Because Collaboratively Working is not Exploitative Working. They are the complete opposite in fact.
in the World â€“ do you Collaborate? Do you understand the benefits and black holes of doing it well and doing it badly? The people that are part of BeCollaboration look at this every day. We understand the art and practice of Collaboration. In fact, we do it so well we got ISO 44001 recognition for the way we do it! Not bad huh? So if you want to Collaborate, come and see it at its best in one of the BeCollaboration meetings or have a coffee with one of our Collaborators that you can see at http://www.becollaboration.com/ collaborators and you never know, you might find some kindred spirits that understand that you can change the world, one starfish at a time! You can contact Kay at: email@example.com www.couragetogrow.me.uk
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What are the BeCollaboration meetings all about? We are a community of motivated and passionate people who choose to work closely together so we can make a positive impact on businesses, organisations and the lives of individuals we work with. People get involved with BeCollaboration for the buzz of being part of something larger than themselves. They want to be able to fulfil their dreams and ambitions with a team of collaborators who are as passionate as they are, and share the same goals. Collaboration creates empowerment for personal, professional and philanthropic growth. In short, we are up for changing the world. Fancy a bit of that? You can see a little more about the whole BeCollaboration approach to life and business here: www.becollaboration.com/our-vision
Details of all our meetings are on our website: www.BeCollaboration.com
MASTERING DIGITAL COLLABORATION FOR REMOTE TEAMS
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In 2018 there are so many ways to collaborate using digital tools it can be confusing to say the least. Amazing collaboration is hard to achieve when a team is all in one place, but it is far more difficult when your team is operating on a remote basis.
At the moment we’re trying Slack but some of the team don’t like it because it pings at them too much so we’re using Skype chat, WhatsApp groups, texts and of course we often resort to e-mail.”
When I dug into other tools they were using This article will help your remote team master I uncovered 3 video conferencing tools and the world of digital collaboration in two ways: 2 types of shared drive. When I spoke to her people they described feeling overwhelmed Part 1 will help you make sense of what and frustrated by the technology and I’m not tools to use for different categories of surprised, I’ve been there. When you can’t collaboration. remember where a conversation took place, or where a file is stored, it’s frustrating beyond Part 2 will give you tactics to help make belief. If I could get back the time I’ve spent digital collaboration work for you and your looking for files and conversations over the last remote team. few years, I’m sure I could have spent several weeks with my family! 1. Classifying collaboration tools
A client of mine has an acronym for this situation, he calls it JACT (Just Another Collaboration In the last few years, remote working has Tool) because work in 2018 can seem a bit become increasingly normalised. Digital ‘JACT up...’ collaboration tools have allowed people to work remotely which is leading to more If you’re in tool overload and you want to make collaboration tools - it’s an accelerating cycle! sense of it all then read on. There are so many options about how to collaborate digitally it can be confusing at best, The first step in collaborating more effectively and is often overwhelming. with digital tools is to categorise the type When talking to people about what tools they are using, I often hear about the multiple tools they’ve tried. Recently a friend told me that her remote team had “tried almost everything and nothing had really stuck”. When I asked what they were using today she gave me this answer:
of collaboration you’re trying to do. It’s not enough to say you’re just going to collaborate on something, you need to decide whether your team is collaboratively thinking, planning or doing, then use the appropriate tool for the job, it also helps to use the concept of a chat tool as a “digital office”. 14
“...if people within your team have different preferences and start to use different tools, you will quickly find yourself in different virtual offices and this creates silos.”
Collaboratively Doing - If your team’s job is to write an article, it is always easier to use one Google document that people can concurrently work on in a web browser, rather than emailing different versions to each other and getting lost.
to all of the other tools you use too so thinking of them as an online office is helpful.
Collaborative Planning - If you are trying to coordinate remote activities, using an online planning tool like Wrike or Trello is a much more effective way of visualising who is doing what and when, rather than having lists.
Have a remote working plan
2. Tactics to make digital collaboration work for you and your remote team
The main problem I see with collaboration technology is people using too many of the same type of tools. The Collaboration technology diagram in part 1 does not contain Collaborative Thinking - In 2018 thinking an exhaustive list of available tools but the four together is usually done by replicating categories really work, to plan out what your the meeting room digitally using video team needs. conferencing. If you have not tried some of the new generation of offerings they are game The key thing to do, is to choose one type of changing; Zoom, in particular, has allowed software for your online office, collaborative my team to have near perfect video based thinking and planning then stick to it! Here is meetings over the last year and at a negligible where leaders have to step up and do a bit cost. of enforcing. Particularly around chat tools, if people within your team have different The Digital Office - When you don’t work preferences and start to use different tools, shoulder to shoulder you miss out on the you will quickly find yourself in different virtual background communication that you get offices and this creates silos. from being in the same place as people. “Watercooler chat” and shared discussions There will never be the perfect tool for everyone, over coffee or lunch are often where the real but it is far more important that every person work gets done. If you don’t have a real office, on the team is in the same virtual place. Think you need a tool to replace informal discussions about your chat, planning and video tools in the and this is where chat applications come in. context of a regular office. If someone in your Enterprise chat tools also act as the gateway office preferred the office down the street you Join the discussion...
wouldn’t let them leave the office that you pay for, because that’s where the rest of the team is. If you’re going to switch chat platforms, do so as an entire team. Train on your tools Some tools are so powerful they can be difficult to get to grips with. My remote team uses a planning tool called Wrike, which is a bit overwhelming at first because it can do so much. However, after some basic training, peoples’ eyes were opened to what was possible, the fear subsided and people got confident. Millennial mentoring It has been a long-established practice for older people to mentor ‘up and coming’ stars. However, it is often the case today, that Millennials are far more proficient in their technological understanding than their seniors. This being the case, I believe it is time for mentoring to become a two-way deal, where younger people mentor us through digital transformations, while we pass on our experience in the more traditional aspects of business. Ban e-mail and attachments I will put my neck on the line here. The main reason why digital collaboration initiatives fail is that key senior people refuse to use the tools. The main offence is to continue to send emails with attachments instead of using the correct chat rooms and linking to centrally shared documents. If this is you have a look at yourself. Every time you send an email with an attachment, you
are setting back your entire team. Not only does someone else have to merge your work into everyone else’s, you are also signaling to the team that it’s OK to ignore the digital collaboration tools, and just do things the old way. Get yourself a ‘Millennial Mentor’ and stop setting a bad example! Mandate focus time One of the best aspects of remote working is having periods of quiet where you can focus on getting real work done. While it’s easy enough to ignore emails filling up your inbox, getting constant notifications from a suite of digital collaboration tools distracts you from your flow. It’s a double edged sword, you need the easy access to your colleagues but the constant ability to do this can slow you all down. To prevent this, allocate quiet periods where people snooze their notifications and make some money! Prevent misunderstandings with emoji The more I work remotely, the more I observe chat interactions spiral into an argument. The problem is that written messages rarely convey the tone that the writer intended. You may well have a cheeky jokey tone in your head when you point out the minor error in a piece of your team-member’s work, but I almost guarantee you that they will read it in an angry voice. It may sound childish, but emojis are the answer; they give the reader a quick indication of the tone you’re writing in so you can convey your personality. This may feel uncomfortable but give emojis a chance, when wielded correctly they’ll save misunderstandings, miscommunication and misinterpretation. 16
Prevent fights with a video call
Most of the tips given above have been based on my own mistakes, so hopefully I will help Almost no one goes to work to pick a fight, you avoid making many of the same ones. so if you find yourself taking offence to chat Good luck collaborators! messages, firstly, try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Ask them if they want to add an You can contact Joe at: emoji to their message, but if things are starting to spiral, get on a video call â€“ straight away. firstname.lastname@example.org When you have access to body language www.enswarm.com you will normally be able to prevent a debate turning into a fight. Final thoughts In the grand scheme of things, digital collaboration is in its infancy and we will see huge progression within the next five years. When most human communication is nonverbal, trying to replace in-person camaraderie with glorified group text as the core platform is bound to be difficult so expect this. Join the discussion...
THE CONNECTEDNESS OF COLLABORATION
Collaboration is probably the word that buzzes around the businesses that I work with the most, but it’s also the thing that is most conspicuous by its absence. Its presence is deeply missed and even craved by those who lack it.
In my experience reaching across 32 years in sales, I have found that the attributes that lead to outstanding collaboration are exactly the same attributes that lead to consistently exceptional sales performance.
At times it will appear in all of its glory to create new ways of being and new opportunities, developing individuals and signaling transformation. Sadly, unless a culture of collaboration is embedded, it is a fleeting moment of magic.
As buyers become more aware of purchase options, they develop stronger ideas about what they need, early on in the sales process. Those of us who sell must change the way we approach and work with customers. Collaboration has never been so important.
Collaboration often gets confused with cooperation, leaving people wondering why it doesn’t generate. It sometimes appears too onerous because it requires each department to stand firmly in ‘this is not about me or my department, this is about us and the greater good’. Occasionally, the tension that is created through the confronting impact of acceptance and vulnerability, of letting go, of selflessness, is too much to bear.
Collaboration and Systemic Integrity
I have lost count of the number of times my clients have stated that what is missing in their business is ‘Collaboration’. It is a subject I introduce in the context of selling and, as a Consultant Sales Director who leads over 120 sales professionals, I am outspoken on the importance of the modern sales professional collaborating with internal and external customers in order to both help their businesses thrive and smash their sales targets.
As businesses continue to become more complex, global and diverse, every part of an organisation is in high demand to operate effectively. Each department (or sub-system) equips itself with the right tools, resources and people to create an environment that establishes and maintains its systemic integrity. Aware of its position in the bigger system, it can now perform its intended function in a way that adds value to the overall goals and objectives. Additionally, there are demands upon the business to minimise the impact of errors and/ or bad decisions, as other parts of the system will have to re-direct important resources to deal with any breach. Not unlike the human body, if the integrity of any part of the subsystem is compromised, the organisation becomes weaker, less able to operate and compete.
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“I have lost count of the number of times my clients have stated that what is missing in their business is ‘Collaboration’.”
Collaboration connects parts of the system that need to be connected, so that the impact of an emerging challenge or the benefits of an emerging opportunity are experienced in such a way that taking the right actions at the right time, in order to maintain systemic integrity and avoid a crisis, is relatively straightforward. Collaboration happens through communication and with intention. Collaboration in Action In Client A, a senior Marketing Manager spent several hours understanding the Business Development Director’s (BDM) strategies and activities. One week later, the two of them met again, only this time the focus was on the BDM understanding the marketing strategy and activities. During the meetings, each discussed what was important to them, how they were driven, what is expected of them and why they choose to work in the way they work. They got deeply related personally and professionally. Once they achieved a strong level of empathy and understanding of the other’s world, they explored a new product opportunity and arranged to jointly meet three customers in one day. These were a particular type of customer persona who they had identified had a common costly problem. They were committed to
creating a new product that would solve the customer’s problem and deliver over £100k per annum of efficiencies. They opened up with their prospects that they were collaborating internally to produce a product for his persona, and shared why and how they thought it would add value. They invited the customer to collaborate with them to produce something that would be mutually rewarding. Two of the customers agreed and they formulated a communication/action plan over three months, including meetings, workshops and conference calls with access to the senior decision-making group on the achievement of certain milestones. Prospect 1 invited another stakeholder into one of the conference calls, and the team received insights that were worth their weight in gold in terms of crafting a new product. During the first meeting, they took care to fully understand the customers’ business, identifying specifically where the problem showed up and the overall impact of the problem across the organisation. The customer was pleased to answer all of the questions because there was sufficient context and the value of the collaboration was clear and quantifiable. In fact, the BDM later reported that the customer guided them on what questions should be asked in future in order to get to the optimal solution. 20
“When I share this example of collaboration, I seem to gain wholehearted agreement that it clearly demonstrates a better way.”
Each party was clearly interested in maintaining and enhancing each other’s systemic integrity and as a result, there were no issues or challenges around communication with all parties sharing freely.
because senior management decision makers were involved in the collaborative process, and the efficiencies were realised sooner than expected for the buyer.
Once collaboration started in earnest the team Over the course of three months of information were forced to ask questions they would not gathering, consulting, testing and refining, normally ask, because they were no longer the team validated the solution, created the acting selfishly, in their silos, but selflessly. business case, aligned the organisational and operational fit and galvanised support When I share this example of collaboration, I internally, to deliver in line with customer seem to gain wholehearted agreement that expectations. At every step, the collaboration it clearly demonstrates a better way. More team were at pains to ensure the solution opportunities, innovation, shorter sales cycles, benefitted all parties sufficiently to justify the more acceptable margins, better products and investment and outcomes. greater knowledge of the customer. It works. The team formed through a powerful mindset, which operated from ‘I collaborate with internal and external customers, to provide world-class solutions that provide excellent value for them and us’.
Everything works when we understand each other. So why don’t we collaborate all the time? What happens in most companies I work with (typically between £10m and £50m turnover), is that a salesperson completes a detailed campaign brief and passes it to the marketing department. The marketing department queues the brief, and sometime later some artwork examples and timings appear in an email to the sales team. The sales team tweaks and agrees timings. There is a conversation about the target audience, look and feel of the piece, length of the campaign, the most suitable medium and how the campaign will be followed up.
As this empowering context took hold it extended itself internally and the same level of understanding reached to procurement, operations and IT. As a result, the product was bought 30% lower than initial expectations, IT were able to provide a solution that created additional value, and three new product opportunities emerged during the process. Systems were aligned with customer input, enabling the capture of valuable information at every step of the product lifecycle. Revenue generation for the vendor was able A couple of weeks later, it rears its head again, to commence more quickly than expected, and conversations about response rates and Join the discussion...
return on investment bounce around, as each seeks to justify their actions and the costs incurred. They struggle to track the leads and have meetings about CRM systems and lead capture. There is nothing wrong with the intention, but what is missing is collaboration. They fail to get in the other’s world and they do not believe they can include their customers. What gets in the way of collaboration?
The selfish seek short-term immediate gratification, with no thought for the longer term or broader consequences. Whereas the selfinterested are more strategic; happy to forego what is instantly gratifying in order to get more later. They delay their gratification. Collaborators, however, are ‘Systemically SelfInterested’; appreciating not only the way that the parts contribute to the whole and systemic interconnections and interdependencies, but they also adopt a flexible identity, sometimes with a specific part, sometimes with the whole and sometimes with the whole beyond.
Meanwhile out in the world, we mostly operate from a context of fear, scarcity and competition, and this gives us a way of being that promotes non-collaborative behaviours, i.e. protecting, defending, controlling and forcing outcomes. In this paradigm, we have to fit in to survive. As the whole is enhanced, we all become greater. True growth is not in our personal wins, but in our We erroneously believe that we get ahead ‘systemic wins’, and the only route to this more through winning every competition, not by evolved way of being, is collaboration. playing the game well. We overlook the fact that organisations thrive through internal You can contact Glen at: collaboration. If the different parts of your body were competing, how long would you survive? email@example.com www.glenwilliamson.co.uk But perhaps the biggest obstacle to collaboration is failing to understand the subtle differences between selfishness, self-interest and systemic self-interest. 22
IS IT OK TO BE DIFFERENT?
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I was five when I arrived in England in the early 1970s, the UK was a very different place, as was our world. Starting school was a very difficult stage in my life, my ability to speak English was negligible and all I wanted to do was fit in, not stand out. Being from abroad did not help.
I could not see any true value for our clients and worse I felt our clients did not really value us. It was primarily a compliance role, a rules following exercise. A transactional experience for us and our clients which was driven by price, which, although we did not know it at the time, we had become commoditised. Our sense of value and purpose was diminished, we were trapped inside a price game, always in fear of losing clients and not really seeing what made us special or unique.
The schooling system at the time added to my challenges, as what was expected of us was compliance, due to the old authoritarian model of education. There were hardly any soft skills taught. Being creative and speaking your mind were not the kind of classes we were taught, A chance meeting with a business coach in and to me, at least, it seemed that all that really 2010 was the start of our transformational mattered was getting grades and doing as I journey. was told. Through the learnings with our coach we were The big risk was being different or challenging able to identify and unlock our passion, create the status quo, if you stood out that much you a new identity, vision, and context for our could pay a high price for rebellion, everything business. from detention, punishments, bad reports, and The changes were much more than fancy even expulsion. Life was risky for the rebel. So, straplines, they affected the way we saw our I chose not be the rebel. role and more importantly clients could see the changes in the things we did and said and the For me survival was a matter of getting my head differences it made in value to their businesses. down, following orders and being compliant, hardly a surprise I ended up becoming an As one enamored client said to us, ‘you are accountant. not just accountants, you are OUR kind of accountants’. All I really wanted was to follow my passion and love of cars, how our dreams fade and die. The changes came with some considerable learnings on our part, we had to redefine our So you can see my schooling chose my relationship with clients and what they meant profession, without knowing it, I was a product to us. We had to reinvent our service offering, of the system predicated on the fear, scarcity whilst still keeping our core offering fit for and competition paradigm. purpose. Prior to the 2008 recession and before the ‘information age’ really took a hold, our accountancy practice was fine, just fine, following the rules and doing the ‘do’ worked ok, there was nothing wrong with that, we did fine.
Part of this new offering meant we were driven by our vision of empowering entrepreneurs, and to really be effective at this, means we need a multitude of skill sets, which for a modest firm of our size we did not have the capacity in-house.
Did I love my work? No, it became repetitive, The Journey of a Collaborator going in and churning the work out with little variation. It was a compliance factory. One of my roles in my practice, is to ensure 24
“For us, the collaboration works, as we are all in the same space and learn from each other regardless of our differing disciplines.”
we build a pool of talent that my clients can call upon, so when we were introduced to BeCollaboration, this interested me as we were introduced to a wealth of talent across various specialisations. Some of these are related specialisms that you expect an accountant to collaborate with, such as banking, insurance, pensions, and other finance disciplines, but others are not related to our core offering such as business coaches, HR specialists, and others.
Our clients are really happy too, as we are able to spot a need in their business beyond what they expect us to see, and that builds incredible trust as we have no hidden agenda beyond wanting to help their business. We have brought in multiple collaborators to help our clients, and work as a team to ensure the client’s needs are met. For me, collaboration at its core, says the fear, scarcity and competition model that I grew up with can be thrown out of the window, and maybe, just maybe, it’s actually OK to be different and help each other through the pool of talent of collaboration.
Like any lasting relationship you have to work with your fellow collaborators to ensure you share the same core values and principles, so when you introduce them to your clients, the clients get the same experience from a collaborator as they do from us. This comes You can contact Naresh at: from our regular collaborator meetings. firstname.lastname@example.org For us, the collaboration works, as we are all www.allanstheaccountants.com in the same space and learn from each other regardless of our differing disciplines. Many collaborators are “solopreneurs” and it’s great to meet like-minded people who work together for a common aim of helping and serving their clients. Join the discussion...
Profile: Taking a look at a key Collaborator in the community.
to break out from the beautiful but very comfortable confines of Suffolk.
Who is Anne Gould? Beyond the existential answer, I live in Bury St Edmunds. I have two grown up children, (young adults - who live on the south coast) and I have a cat, Delphi, who decided, as cats do, to live with me. I am a career journalist, writer, editor and currently edit a glossy executive magazine, Essential Suffolk. My passions are video, production, pictures, photography and communication and they spill over from my Video Confident Technology training business into all aspects of my life. Hobbies - photography, video, writing, the environment, mountains, forests, the sea, and travel, when I can afford it.
So, I started talking to people online - in Essex and Hertfordshire - about networking groups. People kept mentioning BeCollaboration and the more times it was mentioned it seemed like I was getting a message that I needed to try it out. In the spirit of breaking free from the countryside I made my way to London and was not sure what I was expecting - but what an incredible meeting - everyone was brainstorming ideas and possibilities and I felt in my element.
This issue of The Quest has focused on ‘Collaboration in Business’, how do you see If you could choose one BeCollaboration the importance of having collaboration in value that you identify with what might that your business and for your life? be? We can’t know everything, we probably can’t Wonder. understand everything and on top of that, we all have unique and very special talents. I am mesmerised by light, by the natural world, by the ebb and fall of natural tides, sunrises Through collaboration, however, people can and sunsets, emotions, mountains, the sea, help people, build bridges and extend the wild places, art, architecture, music and the horizons. Working together can change the environment. world. For me, it’s from these things that the “flow”, As the editor of The Quest you get to be part the connectedness between human beings is of the growing voice of BeCollaboration, how generated. do you share YOUR passion with the world? You have been a member of BeCollaboration for a while now, can you remember what/ who first attracted you to the organisation?
My passion is about communicating the “Wonder” of what I see along the way.
So most of my career has been about writing I was at a point in my business where I wanted stories and features on almost every subject Join the discussion...
imaginable - lifestyle, court, council, film, So, I have been a journalist and an editor for entertainment, travel and even sport from the many years and along with that are a myriad of Press Box at Wembley. skills - stuff that you can just do and don’t think much about. Four years ago I retrained as a video journalist because there have been many times when I I have always struggled with the business side have interviewed people where words have of self-employment because what drives me simply not been enough to convey that look is creativity and simply telling real stories about on someone’s face, a faraway look in their eye, the amazing things that I encounter along the and it sort of frustrated me. way. Most memorably, was an Auschwitz survivor who talked about the terrible, terrible things that had happened to him and his family in a complete monotone.
Journalists and creatives are often poorly paid and work more for love than money. Abundance hasn’t yet manifested itself into my dictionary - maybe because I still provide a lot of help for free in the spirit of generosity.
To make my videos better I started taking photographs which has led to having images Earlier this year I had a shift in understanding published in The Guardian and much praise on at a BeCollaboration meeting about what I do social media. and I am looking to do something further with my pictures. Then I was asked to start teaching Smartphone Video to business owners - everyone from I am also now developing my online course into a corporate PR teams to sole traders. three-month programme that extends beyond video into visual storytelling, communication That’s when I discovered that as much as I like strategy and PR. Selling it is another matter. doing stuff I also love teaching people and am more thrilled with their results - like getting For the future: their businesses on TV - than I am with my own results. I harbour a dream of running a creative writing/ photography retreat. Would you say that the BeCollaboration community has supported you and given I want to run a video conference to show you a clear vision going forward with your entrepreneurs “video literacy” isn’t about business? talking to the camera on Facebook. Join the discussion...
“I have finally admitted to myself this year that my genius is seeing, observing and communicating with words, pictures and film.”
I would like to make a documentary film about If someone is interested in coming along women - ordinary women who are following to a BeCollaboration meeting, from your their dreams and making a difference. perspective what might they expect when they get there? Are you free to operate within your Genius? What vision do you have for your There’s always a friendly welcome and at business working with the BeCollaboration the start, you might wonder where you are community? BeCollaboration is like no other networking group you’ve ever come across. I have finally admitted to myself this year that my genius is seeing, observing and The talks challenge your mindset and there are communicating with words, pictures and film. ideas that take a little bit of time to understand. This year I joined a creative writing challenge Once the penny drops, however, you’ll feel that and unleashed a bit of myself that I have been you’ve had a shift in consciousness and will holding back for decades. start to think differently. I always have a long journey to meetings and sometimes it doesn’t The feedback I have received has been fit in with my schedule but the effort to attend overwhelming and so I am about a quarter of is always worth it. the way through a first draft of a book/novel about abusive relationships and emotional and If you would like to learn more about Anne’s spiritual recovery. workshops or to find out more about how to use video for your business you can contact I have already run one workshop on video for Anne. BeCollaboration members and have worked further with one member in particular who has You can contact Anne at: had similar life experiences to me. www.workingwordzmedia.co.uk I always have workshops happening or even email@example.com Facebook challenges so if anyone is interested please get in touch. 30
COLLABORATE - IT’S JUST THE NEW BUZZWORD ISN’T IT?
Join the discussion...
Collaboration is not a quick fix for your business challenges, but it can be a powerful tool to use, ONLY when used within a new paradigm and a clear context. Today we find ourselves caught within the current paradigm of Fear, Scarcity & Competition, and it is shaping and influencing every area of human activity, from our personal and family relationships, to our work and businesses. We are in survival mode, we are bred that way, look out for number one and don’t look back. We can see this all around us, the world as we know it isn’t working for everyone, and we have to work hard to ensure it works for us. The demise of the NHS, politicians on backhanders, mortgage and every other type of fraud, contracts being awarded to the in-crowd, and that in my opinion is just the tip of the iceberg.
At the core of this conversation is INTEGRITY, you cannot Collaborate without it. Having integrity that works for everyone is key, irrespective of race, religion, gender, disability or nationality. Operating from integrity within a collaborative environment surmounts all issues. In order to do this, we need a revolution, a revolution of the heart, a transformation from Fear, Scarcity & Competition to that of Love, Connection and Abundance. One revolutionary appears to be Reverend Michael Curry who gave a most impassioned speech at the recent royal wedding. His theme, “when love is the way, there is no place for wars, famine, disease, and conflict inner and outer, when love is the way, we can unite and we can ALL win, we can ALL thrive, together.” The collaboration becomes the most powerful aid to mend our broken world. 32
So what of Collaboration in Business? Firstly, let me define how we are using the word Collaboration within BeCollaboration.
Bet you know someone like this as well. Where do you see yourself? For more on this subject watch Jill Bolte Taylors’ TED Talk. It’s had over 22 million views, see it here.
Our Definition of Collaboration; A NEW View - Humanity at its BEST An endeavour with 3 or more people that produces something of value that makes a difference to all involved, that otherwise would not exist. Imagine in your business an ‘endeavour with 3 or more people that produces something of value that makes a difference to all involved’ what could that look like? Every time a team in your organisation begins a project, following the collaborative contextual guidelines from a culture formed around what is possible – what amazing things might they achieve? If they were able to operate in a new-world paradigm of Love, Connection and Abundance how empowered could they be for your business? Consider, when it comes to the BIG Things; the Dreams, the Audacious, the outright… Unreasonable…the Unsolvable then Collaboration comes into its own, its then you need to Be….Collaboration. When we first started talking Collaboration, we would talk about 3 key elements, the Left Brain, the Right Brain and Visionary thinking. The Left Brain characteristics; Methodical, Detail Driven, Past-Future Based, Separate, Unique, Internal Chatter, Just the FACTs. (Know anyone like this…?) The Right Brain characteristics; Connected to the Mass, Creative, Expansive, Peaceful, Empathic, Generous, Compassionate, Heart Driven.
How our brain operates and how we can harness the power of both left and right brain, brings about contextual thinking. Or as Simon Sinek would say, “start with WHY!” Context is not only key, it is critical to Collaboration. It has magical powers, it heals the past, it aligns, and shows the way ahead. It allows us to know who we are, and how we operate, it keeps ego at bay and calls for what is possible, again and again. Context allows us to marry the micro (self) & the macro (world). We can connect the dots and see how it all fits together. We start with ourselves and like ripples on a pond they spread out. The illusion is that we can’t and don’t make a difference, yet we all do, in every moment, even how we think and feel is having an impact. Trust me, try doing anything when you are angry, enraged or bitter, and look at the impact that has created - how’s that working out for you…and others? By bringing Love, Connection and Abundance to your everyday experience and to your business, you will view your team differently, your clients and your suppliers in a whole new way. When we all work together from the same context, we can create more, go further, and make the impact we want, even solve the unsolvable. The Art & Practice of Collaboration, gives us all the opportunity to better appreciate the skills, perspectives and the talents of others, it means WE don’t have to have all the answers and we can create synergies and outcomes that would have been impossible in the Fear, Scarcity & Competition paradigm. So how does that look in real life business?
Join the discussion...
“When we all work together from the same context, we can create more, go further, and make the impact we want, even solve the unsolvable. “
I invite you to explore the infinite possibilities who think differently from you and to have of Human Collaboration, simply by paying compassion and empathy for yourself as you attention to the following: push boundaries and explore what is possible. Your Language Your Being Your Relationships Your Leadership Your Empathy Your Compassion Your Resolve Your Resilience Your Team Your Clients Your Performance Your Results
Taking the seemingly easy path and going it alone is not an option in this current climate, understanding the power of Collaboration will empower you, your business and will shape your future. And maybe, just maybe, if we all take this on, it could just make the human experience a very different adventure. You can contact Erkan at: Erkan@becollaboration.com
The above are after all, a reflection of you, a reflection of who you are and what you stand for and ask “is this enough for me?” “Is this all I have within me?”, “can I give more?, can I be an example of what is possible in the world, at least in my world?” And “who might help me?” One last thing: To collaborate is not easy, it takes something to explore and search out new ways. You will require courage to invite the talents of others 34
The Quest Invitation to visit.
BeCollaboration believe that true collaboration â€“ as you have witnessed here in The Quest, occurs when people develop and deepen their relationship, building trust through sharing their authentic self. This doesnâ€™t generally happen as a result of online communication. Meeting face to face is the best way to create amazing possibilities where wonderful projects happen. The Quest is just one such project. We believe that meeting regularly is fundamental to our growth and learning so we have monthly meetings for guests and Collaborators to meet and discuss new ideas, issues and potential solutions. Each meeting delivers knowledge sharing, business insights, personal development opportunities as well as thought leaders in the making presenting their genius to the room. All of this in an atmosphere where fun and laughter are paramount. At the end of the meeting, we find no one wants to leave so we continue the conversations in a social get together for as long as you want to stay. If you would like to visit and meet our community you are very welcome. There is no cost to attend, simply bring an open mind and a listening heart. You can get full meeting information including upcoming dates and venue details here www. becollaboration.com just click on ATTEND A MEETING. We look forward to meeting you soon.
*** No meetings in August***
6th September 14th September 20th September 25th September
Essex, Herts, Surrey, London,
Chelmsford Hertford Banstead Shad Thames
4th October 12th October 18th October 23rd October
Essex, Herts, Surrey, London,
Chelmsford Hertford Banstead Shad Thames
1st November 9th November 15th November 27th November
Essex, Herts, Surrey, London,
Chelmsford Hertford Banstead Shad Thames
What happens at a BeCollaboration meeting. 2pm – 3pm is the Introduction for guests. Learn more about what inspires us to be part of the community, our journey so far and how to make the most of your visit. 3pm – 6pm The Collaborators will join you to share, create, discuss, inspire and learn – plus have fun! 6pm onwards there is always a social vibe to continue the conversation, you are very welcome to stay and we can get to know you more too. We look forward to welcoming you to a BeCollaboration event soon.
THE QUEST is produced by BeCollaboration.com BeCollaboration™ believes in working for a world where every individual has the opportunity to...
Published on Jul 23, 2018
THE QUEST is produced by BeCollaboration.com BeCollaboration™ believes in working for a world where every individual has the opportunity to...