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Step 6 to Success – Collaboration

Pillar #6 –Honoring the benefits and struggles of good collaboration.

This blog post series titled, ‘Steps to Success’, discusses various steps that you can take to transform your life.  We must start by taking personal responsibility (Step 1), then you need to outline your vision (Step 2), decide how you will live a purpose driven life (Step 3) , commit to dreaming about infinite possibilities (Step 4), and then you are ready to put your hard work into action and you can become a catalyst (Step 5).  At that point, you will begin to see changes in your life.  Collaboration with others can continue to increase your ability to make positive change in your life.   This week we will discuss the 6th Pillar – Collaboration.

There are many benefits to collaboration.   It cultivates relationships, enhances teamwork, reduces employee turnover, improves outcomes and connects people to meet shared goals.  Overall, it creates synergy (meaning that the sum is greater than its parts put together).   Stephen R. Covey, in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , very succinctly states that to collaborate is to:

1.       Listen and Acknowledge

2.       Respect

3.       Speak the Truth

4.       Think Win-Win

5.       A process

And that it is NOT:

1.       Always Easy

2.       Disregarding other’s ideas

3.       Accepting others ideas as the FULL TRUTH

4.       Thinking Win-Lose

5.       Giving in to Peer Pressure

There are two models or theories that I believe are very relevant when developing strong collaborations.   One is the Platinum Rule which states you should ‘Treat others as they would like to be treated’.  This is different from the Golden Rule which states that you should ‘Treat others as you would like to be treated’.  Such a theory will help you ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ while trying to collaborate with them.

The second model or theory is Tuckman’s stages of group formation.  These stages are ‘forming, storming, norming and performing’ (in that order).   Tuckman stated that groups naturally go through these stages as they are getting to know each other and learning how to best work with each other.  There will be struggle prior to successful performance.

Many humans and animals understand the benefit of working in groups.  There is truth behind the saying “Two heads are better than one”.  As you move through your development towards a successful life, assessing how you can collaborate if it will be a mutually beneficial option will serve you well.  When you do, you will be amazed at the outcomes.  Harry Ford said “Coming together is a beginning: keeping together is progress: working together is success”.   Wishing you much success as you develop collaborations!

Jeanne Ward is a Consultant and Personal Strategist who brings her knowledge of psychology, strategy and personal fulfillment to her current work. Jeanne started her career by helping mentally ill inmates to ‘get their lives back on track’ as they integrated back into society from jail in NYC. She leveraged this experience with a Social Work degree to manage teams who were supporting people trying to move back into the workforce. She later lived in Atlanta, GA and Frankfurt, Germany where she began consulting with nonprofit organizations to guide them on their strategy, volunteer development, and organizational development as well as to support the development of their leaders and board of directors. After the jolt of a divorce, Jeanne found herself doing a lot of soul-searching. Digging deep, she arrived at a new-found appreciation for herself and the world around her. This journey taught her that when we start with improving ourselves, the benefits multiply. Jeanne realized that her strengths of strategic thinking, relationship building, and implementation planning could be combined into her ongoing passion of personal leadership. Hence, her personal strategy work was born. Jeanne helps men and women between the ages of 35 and 55 who are fed up with their corporate jobs to create fulfilling professional and personal lives through the development of a personal strategic plan. This work ensures that her clients identify their professional and personal goals as well as create a plan to make those goals a reality. Jeanne is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Road Trotters Kid’s Running Club, a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for children to build a foundation of running health and fitness which leads to a better connection to the organized running community as well as a strong foundation of Discipline, Self-Esteem, Respect and Team Work. She has also co-authored a workbook on networking, founded and organized the National Association of Social Workers-Georgia-sponsored ‘Social Service Career Network’ and organized a summit for the National Alliance for Mentally Ill attended by over 100 organizations from 6 Atlanta counties. Previously, she sat on the board of NASW GA as their Secretary as well as on the board of NAMI GA/DeKalb as their Co-President, was a senior consultant for the Georgia Center for Nonprofits and helped to run a capital campaign for an independent school. Jeanne has an MSW from Hunter School of Social Work (City University of New York), an MA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (City University of New York) and a BA in Psychology from Emory University. Jeanne lives in Atlanta with her ten-year-old son.

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