Take the time to identify them in your organization. They’ll have the time to help you, once you take the first step to bridge the collaboration gap.
Collaborative colleagues are your X-Factor:
- a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome
- A noteworthy special talent or quality.
I know. You perceive a problem here. These X Factor collaborative colleagues don’t collaborate easily. They aren’t’ “sold” because they are skeptical. About everything.
The go-to resources I’m talking about are “those” folks: the techies, engineers, marketing, finance or legal types whom you wouldn’t dream about talking to.
They couldn’t possibly be like-minded individuals. Or could they?
You just need to get your head out of the sand of your discipline-driven mindset and find them.
Here are 4 Tips to get you started, from Chapter 3 of my book, Do YOU Mean Business? (And I bet you all do mean business!):
- Identify an interesting potential colleague from a completely different professional discipline. Perhaps your paths cross in meetings but that’s it. Figure out just what intrigues you about them. What makes you curious to learn more?
- Shadow that colleague in their department for an hour a day over the next three weeks. Invite them to shadow you, in your department, as well. Take notes.
- Separately determine those responsibilities and decisions you have in common and which are unique. Yes, you speak two different languages. Dig down. That decision making tree, and the problems you both encounter, are your collaboration clue cards. Take notes
- Compare notes. Over coffee. In some neutral space. During that hour you both had set aside to shadow each other.
That is the start of developing like-minded, go-to resources. It works both ways.
Take the time to get to know a potentially collaborative colleague. Your time will be well-spent in cultivating resources beyond your professional network.
Besides, you both may learn something new in the process.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a management consultant and business coach. She helps startups and small-to-medium manufacturing and service companies who have difficulty with unpredictable revenue streams. Her book on communication and collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU, is available on Amazon.com.