Successful business collaboration involves a lot of persistence, often in the face of seemingly uninterested customers, team members and investors for your startups. How do you motivate yourself to sustain your business collaboration efforts, even when you have “one of those days?”
Last weekend, I watched one of my favorite Disney films, Finding Nemo®. Yes, there were no children present, only the big kids. Shhh, don’t tell anyone! The movie made me recall one of my favorite lines, sung over and over again, by Dory®, the story’s heroine of sorts. OK, I hear you asking, what do Dory and Finding Nemo have to do with business collaboration? Dory’s song calls for us to:
Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
Have you ever worked with teams whose goal was innovation and business collaboration? Yet they were trying to mesh ideas and processes which seemed to go together like oil and water! I’ve sung Dory’s little song to myself before I walked into these team sessions. I’ve asked team members to sing along with me. Some did, some didn’t, but everyone relaxed, started to smile, and enjoyed the process.
There’s no one-size-fits-all recipe for business collaboration, sales success or technical outcomes. No matter whether I am prying entrepreneurs’ fingers off their startup in an effort to pivot during customer discovery. No matter whether your sales team is getting one message from Marketing, and another one from their customers. No matter whether your engineering team is resistant to incorporating new technology into deliverables.
What you do need to keep in mind is to just keep swimming.
Eventually the myriad of business collaboration puzzle pieces starts to interlock in a successful, insightful and synergistic pattern. It takes the combined effort of everyone swimming together to liberate yourselves from the status quo of “but we’ve always done things this way.”
Just like that netted school of fish at the Finale of Finding Nemo, all suspending their skepticism when faced with the options either of a) ending up on someone’s dinner plate or b) freeing themselves. Successful business collaboration calls for a similar process. The school of fish are convinced by Dory and Nemo to swim downward towards the sea floor. They work together, as one collective entity. The fish test the tolerance of the net’s structure. The net bursts; the school of fish are free to swim away.
Just keep swimming. Suspend your skepticism. Work together, anyway.
At times successful business collaboration requires your swimming against the current, through rough or murky waters (or both), and dealing with the sharks that want to sabotage or compromise your forward progress. If your ultimate goal is viable, in spite of the risk you must assume, you just keep swimming.
Like Nemo’s dad, Marlin, you will find some amazing partners along the way to assist you with your business collaboration initiative. They will bring subtle strengths to your venture, your sales process, your throughput, which you didn’t anticipate. Trust them and just keep swimming.
This weekend, treat yourself to Finding Nemo. It’s a parable about collaboration in general. The story told is applicable to business collaboration. When you hit the office routine this week, remember: just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.
I just made you smile, didn’t I? Here’s to successful business collaboration. Just keep swimming.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, brings entrepreneurial mojo and business- and revenue-producing collaboration and communication tools to small and mid-sized businesses and startups. She was named one of the Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencers 2013. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business? focuses on technical / non-technical collaboration strategies and tools.