When it comes to your business or career path, are you a lone ranger? See if you identify with any of these statements:
- “I can do it better myself.”
- “The more people involved the less control I'll have.”
- “It's a dog eat dog world.”
- “I like my ideas and my way of doing things.”
- “Shhh, I cannot trust anyone with my ideas; they will steal them.”
The truth is, going it alone can lead to overwork and burnout for you, and can create unnecessary stress and tension in your work/life flow. It can breed competition, fear, dishonesty, tunnel vision, and inefficiency.
So before you limit your chance for success, why not open the door to other people’s skills and experience. Community is a win-win solution with many benefits, including the following:
- Do what you love. Everyone has a unique set of passion triggers — the things you love doing because they fire up your interest — and you do them well. There are also, of course, the things you struggle with doing. By collaborating, you can divide up the tasks so that all involved get to do what they love.
- More ideas. Brainstorming with a partner or group, whether formal or informal, will inevitably lead to more ideas than one person can think up on his or her own. There’s also an incredible opportunity for innovation as people build on the ideas of others.
- Belonging. It’s human nature to value the feeling of belonging, being part of something bigger and better than you are alone.
- Community. Many of us want community on our path to being successful. Success in business, success at work, success in life — they’re all contingent on success in relationships. Community is a place to learn, stretch, and grow into more effective and healthy ways of interacting with others.
- Affiliations. How many times have you suggested a restaurant, CE program, hair stylist, etc., to a friend or colleague? Well, millions of companies currently build on that “word of mouth” concept and use affiliate programs to help sell their products and services. It's a win-win situation for both seller and company: The seller gets a commission, and the company gets a sale it otherwise may not have. These fully disclosed, ethical arrangements convey integrity within business collaborations vs. the “private kickbacks.”
How to be a good collaborator within a community
- Trust. Assume the best about people, and trust them with your head full of ideas. Have faith and remember that your affiliations want to do their best and feel good about their work at the end of the day. And trust the collaborative process, even when people do things differently than you would, and you can’t quite see how it will all come together. It will.
- Be trustworthy. Mahatma Ghandi said that we need to BE the change we want to see in the world. So if you want to trust people, be someone they can trust. Act with integrity, do what you say you’re going to do, and be open and honest in your communication.
- Choose wisely. For each task that challenges you, there is someone who loves it and does it well. Build a community of experts.
A successful business community is a balancing act of personality types, niches, communication styles, and skills. To the lone ranger, that might seem like too much trouble. But if you’re looking to improve your performance and seal your success, community is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up.
Kristine A. Hodsdon RDH, BS
Director, RDH eVillage