If you want to achieve greatness, you will first need a team to propel you there. Getting the right people on your team and understanding each of their specialized expertise is essential. Your team is important and so are their ideas; this is what leveraging creative collaboration is all about.
Today, the biggest breakthroughs happen when people with a collective vision join together and share ideas, information, and work. Most top CEOs don’t do all the work themselves. Their success as an individual has now put them in a position where they are able to hire others who can work together to accomplish a single goal.
Consider Kodak’s George Fisher as an example, brought in after a “highly publicized firing” of the former CEO Kay Whitmore, who was greeted with significant optimism during a period of poor performance for the company. He was brought in to turn the company around, but even his level of charisma could not single-handedly revolutionize the company.
As the CEO of an expanding marketing agency, I’ve done it both ways. Ten years ago, halfway into my career, I was working under the philosophy of “boss knows best” and over a month-long period, eight managers left because their ideas weren’t being shared. I stifled their voice and my business suffered. It took losing key people to realize I was learning my lesson the hard way. The lone ranger approach had failed me; however, it was a blessing in disguise. In order to see the vision I had inside me come to fruition, I would have to be willing to collaborate with the incredible talent I surrounded myself with.
Collaboration is the key element for businesses embarking on the “good to great” journey. This entails more than just people working together; the entire process is what you make it. In others words, you must bring certain attributes as a leader to the table to set the foundation for success. This includes learning to coach appropriately. Bringing down the hammer is necessary sometimes, but keep in mind what a hammer has the potential to do — break a solid foundation. Take advice from sports coaches: You have to inspire and motivate to form a strong team or foundation.
A great deal of my success, for example, can be attributed to the principles I adopted years ago from my mentors, coworkers and role models. John Maxwell, CEO of iNJOY and a mentor of mine, once said, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” His statement struck a chord in me and I have applied the same philosophy to both work and life ever since. Being an influential leader, motivating your team and capitalizing on each person’s varying strengths and perspectives will help you achieve your goal, but it doesn’t stop there. You will also need to know how to recognize potential when listening to other people’s ideas. As team members identify and explore their own strengths, weaknesses and skills, they gain an understanding of how combining the various skills of several individuals contributes to greater success than can be achieved by one person alone.
A good leader is able to unite and motivate a team while also possessing the ability to make an authoritative decision. When working collaboratively, a final decision will need to be made at some point. As a leader, your ability to follow through with that decision will be what sets you apart from others. People aren’t going to work with you or believe you if they can’t trust you. Never give false hope and don’t sugar coat the truth. If you want to develop solid relationships and prove you’re trustworthy, this is crucial. Additionally, when communicating, remain optimistic and speak effectively in a clear and concise manner. Doing so allows you to engage and connect with employees on a personal level, further fostering an environment of respect and trust.
Creative collaboration is simple when you have leverage. When you utilize the ideas and assistance of others, it takes less time and even the most significant dreams become obtainable.
Think of your goals as boxes standing in your way and in order to get ahead, you will need to move them. You may be able to lift the small and light boxes, however, it’s simply because they don’t have much in them. Sure, you can move them and get to the finish line on your own, but will it be worth it? Will you achieve the amount of success you have dreamt for yourself without the heavy lifting?
When you set large goals and have huge dreams of success, the objects in your way will likely be much heavier and a lot larger. You’re either going to need multiple people or a lever to lift the objects in front of you. Either way, moving them requires something or someone other than yourself. These big dreams are worth it but anyone who has achieved success will tell you that it’s going to require a team of people to move the weight to help you get there.
Check out the original publication on Forbes.com.
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