Hi SOTGC Community!
Death and taxes are not the only certainties in life. A third certainty that I know to be true is that we are better together, as a group, than we are alone. We are stronger and smarter as a whole. Collaboration is key for success.
What I Learned About Successful Collaboration From My University A Cappella Group
One of the best representations of collaborative efforts can be seen on nearly every college campus. A cappella groups have collaboration down to a science. The two groups I was a part of at Saint Joseph’s University were no exception.
A cappella is the ultimate experiment in working with one another. And, the success of that collaboration is evident in the resulting performances. If someone is off-key, too loud, or not on the beat, it can compromise the entire group’s performance. Making music with just your mouth in a group of people can turn a lone melody into a powerhouse anthem. This same logic is applicable in the workforce.
How a cappella groups master collaboration and how businesses can implement their strategies for successful collaboration:
- Start with the baseline. Take your collaborator’s “pulse.” Establish each contributor’s expectations for the project. Lay out what needs to be accomplished and learn what skills everyone is bringing to the table. Create a solid plan and designate a timeline. Keep a steady beat, stay in time, and don’t rush.
- Keep solidarity at the forefront. Solidarity, the act of working together toward a common goal, is at the root of collaboration.The idea that we are joining forces and combining our efforts with one another to accomplish a shared goal is what leads to success. Identify the common goal that the team is working towards and keep that goal at the forefront of the decisions to be made.
- Actively listen. Truly listen and engage with what is happening in real time, not just what you are expecting the other person to say, do, or sing. Be open to the ideas of others. Make sure everyone has a voice even if the structure of the collaboration doesn’t allow for everyone to have a vote.
- Be open to the seemingly nontraditional. Keep an open mind. Often the nonstandard approaches to solving a problem can be the most successful. If the way everyone was doing it before didn’t work or lead to the same results, then a change-up might be called for. Shane Snow said, “No one ever changed the world by doing more of the same.” Don’t try to imitate. Embrace originality and authenticity. Success can originate from unassuming avenues.
- Learn how to rock a solo. Hold your own. Have confidence in your abilities to add value to the group. If you forget the words during a presentation, or if things go off script, keep going with a smile on your face. Don’t undermine your contributions or success. If someone compliments your work, genuinely thank them for their support.
- Let others shine. The point is not to be the loudest or have the most solos, but rather to work together to take all of your good individual qualities to make something great. Recognize each person’s individual specialties and talents. Make the effort to highlight them in order to inspire a sense of community. Give credit where it is due. Highlight your collaborator’s efforts and how their work made your project a success.
- Trust the harmonies. Complement don’t compete. Focus on blending your individual style, expertise, and abilities to best serve the group. Utilize the “We all sound better when we make each other sound better” approach. After practicing a pitch or prepping for a presentation, trust that the other members on your team are going to do a fantastic job. Rely on each member’s strengths. Build rapport and inspire trust by showing your support one another.
Not sure if your collaboration was a success?
The success of a collaboration can be measured by…The 6 C’s of Successful Collaboration:
- Care – The project is completed the right way, not the fastest or easiest way.
- Concern – Work is executed with integrity. Each group member “buys into” the project and no one “phones it in.”
- Consistency – The collaboration has a distinct rhythm or flow that is both natural and logical.
- Creativity – The process inspires a new idea or makes you think about something new or an old idea in a new way.
- Community – The project inspires a sense of belonging. It allows for all voices to be showcased and heard.
- Continuity – The end result combines efforts to create one cohesive idea. It makes sense not only to the group members or, the creators, but it translates to the intended audience.
Please join the conversation! What projects have you collaborated on? What strategies worked to make your collaboration a success?
Speak your mind! Tweet @SOTGC and @SEMeehan directly about your successful collaborations!.