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Collaboration

As we enter into the month of October, the color pink is everywhere. Television, radio, newspapers, billboards, magazines, walks, fundraisers, retail merchandise… the list goes on in efforts to promote National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Talk about collaboration! This health care campaign was formed to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis and treatment and has become a global sensation with a phenomenal collaborative effort.

Collaboration inspires a sense of community and the opportunity for people to learn from each other. While the collaborative activity of promoting National Breast Cancer Awareness is huge on a global scale, collaborative activity at the workplace, on a much smaller scale, mobilizes teams in various capacities to come together and reach common goals.

The AMPED team recently put collaborative efforts to the test when Hurricane Irma was slated for a direct hit in the Ft. Lauderdale area. One of our newest clients was having a large annual conference in this area, just two weeks after the hurricane was to hit. Decisions had to be made about keeping the conference in Ft. Lauderdale as planned, not knowing what damage may ensue, or moving the entire event to a new location in a different area of the country. Through this process, we learned the value of collaboration, both internally and externally with various teams. Below are a few thoughts on effective collaboration that resonated with me as we worked together to produce a successful outcome for our client:

1. Collaboration will expand your community and your opportunities to connect with people for new ideas. When we were considering moving to a new location, our CEO happened to be at a conference with hospitality industry leaders including CEO’s from convention and visitor bureaus across the United States. After discussing our situation with industry peers, many CEO’s offered their advice, assistance and resources to help us through the process of potentially moving the conference to a new location. Ideas were presented that we never knew existed.

2. Collaboration allows you to expand your experiences and knowledge. Our team had not been through a situation like this before. Through many forms of collaboration, each one of us was able to establish new areas of “expertise” that can now be applied to future circumstances.

3. Collaborations provide a built-in sounding board and a system of checks and balances. This experience provided many opportunities for our team to bounce ideas off of one another, blend complementary strengths and recognize areas where we could improve. It made us a stronger team.

In the end, our collaborative partners made the decision to stay at the Florida destination, as originally planned. And the conference experienced a record number of attendees! Collaborative efforts made this possible.

 

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brydgesteam

 

As in most things, running an association successfully takes a village of committed, talented people who listen, trust each other, and lean on each other for support. It’s important to check in with your team to make sure that the village continues to run efficiently, effectively, and collaboratively to ensure success.

Here are some good ways to make sure your team is successful and your village is strong:

1. Have an understanding of how you’re going to be with one another when times get tough. Running associations and meetings is full of fast-paced activities and doesn’t always come without problems. Having an understanding of how you’re going to treat one another and react to problems together when the tough stuff hits, will help you get through smoothly to the other side.

2. Good communication is key. Being able to effectively communicate with one another can make or break your team. Clear communication ensures that everyone is on the same page which is essential and will help to mitigate any problems that may arise.

3. Allow people to get excited about their projects and “own” them. Essentially, don’t micromanage. We all have our unique strengths, it’s important to allow people to let those strengths shine. When people are excited about the work that they do and can really “own” it, the work is better and the team is better.

4. Make sure everyone can be heard. Does each person on your team feel that they have a voice? That they can assert their opinion and have that opinion really taken into consideration? Do people feel like they can ask questions? Making sure that everyone on the team has a voice is important for collaboration and trust. It can also lead to exciting new ideas or foster a different way of thinking.

5. Listen to understand, not respond. This is one of my favorite Stephen Covey “habits.” Are you solely listening so that you can jump on a response right away or are you really understanding where your team is coming from and the way they understand things to be? Ask good questions to make sure you are understanding, not just responding.

6. Spend time with one another. Away from the office. Get to know each other on a personal level and have fun with one another. This will certainly help in listening to understand, building better communication, and increases the trust you have in one another.

7. Learn from the mistakes and celebrate the successes. We certainly try to be mistake-free, but, they are bound to happen. Be sure that you’re utilizing mistakes as learning opportunities and work as a team to come up with ways to “do it better” next time. In the same vein, identify ways that successes can be replicated in other areas, and make sure to celebrate even the smallest win!

Ensure your village is healthy and strong by checking in with your team regularly on these things. Ensure there is effective communication and that everyone is collaborating together to achieve a common goal.

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