This article starts to explain why Whole Self Leadership values connection and collaboration over most concepts when writing the long term strategy for your business.
A couple of months ago, a guy who had been introduced to me by a colleague took a look at the site and concluded in an email that it was hugely idealistic and this was not how the world works. If you are in a tough space then you may conclude that aiming for greater connection and community is the stuff of pipe dreams. And yet I would like to challenge that.
What do I mean by the term community? In business some prefer the term collaboration. Community can be an online group of people that you know or the neighbours in your street. What groups do you belong to? This needs to be a vital element of anyone who works for themselves’ strategy.
Interestingly, I was reading a report by McKinsey recently in which they determined what made the top research labs more productive than the rest. There were a number of themes that they drew out and up there amongst them was the ability to build connection. The findings showed that building long-term relationships with other labs was vital to success alongside relationships with colleagues particularly those new to the lab. Each newcomer is given a buddy and the buddy is expected to devote significant time to helping the newcomer settle into the workplace, in many ways it is considered to be an apprenticeship.
Not surprisingly collaboration was a key attribute to the success of the top labs. They want ideas to spread like infectious diseases so they have created great informal coffee bars and spaces for lunch. Some go beyond the informal and have a more structured approach like a specific club to ensure continued learning, sharing and networking.
What is connection?
In another recent conversation, someone said to me that they always avoid people that have loads of contacts on Facebook because it can’t be real as no one has that many friends. I believe that there is some truth in the quality versus quantity argument. It is why many of my events are very intimate affairs because it is only possible to experience deep connection in a smaller group. That said if people like what you write and want to connect, surely it makes sense to invite them in. That is the first step towards building a relationship.
Connection is easier when you can be kind to yourself and others. That said it is vital to have boundaries that work for you. People that connect on Linkedin and then start spamming me with stuff I have not asked for because we don’t have a relationship tend to get short shrift.
The initial connection is really the first step of what I like to think of as a courtship. The next step is considering how you will engage with your audience? What will you give them? How will you inspire them? It is one of the reasons that I write a weekly blog to provide tips and inspiration to my readers.
In summary, the longer that I work for myself, the clearer it is to me that people do not really understand what connection and collaboration are or how powerful they are as tools. Great collaboration does not just lead to new products, it can help you by providing different perspectives on situations, give you greater reach and so on.
Here is how I see connection which is the first step to collaboration, the ultimate strategy for many small businesses. Connection is the energy that flows when we feel seen, heard and valued. This is the essence of my masterhearts programme http://bit.ly/17q8k2Y, where we explore how to derive sustenance and strength by being in relationship with self, source and others and creating a life from our passions. We work in a group because of the power of the collaboration, which enables every person and every business to move forward.
What experiences do you have with connection and collaboration? I would love to hear your stories so do share in a comment below.
Kate Griffiths has worked as a change consultant and coach in a range of organisations for over twenty years. She now works primarily with conscious business owners and leaders that recognise the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining what the new ways of doing business look like. She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation. She also leads mindfulness workshops and leadership programmes for soulpreneurs