Two Plus Two Can Equal Five!

Collaboration by its very definition sets the stage for something better than what you can accomplish on your own. Once you’ve decided to work with someone on an event, product, or project, ensure its success with great communication.

Set and meet clear deadlines. Sometimes just getting a project off the ground is the hardest part. Think baby steps, if necessary, and agree on dates when those first few steps will be completed. Reevaluate frequently and keep those deadlines coming.

Establish expectations. Nothing will end a collaboration sooner than unspoken assumptions. Have clear and thorough conversations to establish which tasks belong to which person. If you’re taking care of the food for a shared event, and your collaborator is taking care of the flowers, be sure someone is sending invitations.

Discuss challenges along the way. If something isn’t working, take the time to find out why. If it’s a hurdle that can be overcome, celebrate. If you discover your partnership isn’t a good fit, find a friendly and mutually agreeable way to move on. Sometimes being flexible means being willing to let go.

Follow up to evaluate successes and failures. Evaluate your collaboration with a  simple conversation. What worked? Why? What didn’t? Why? Be open and non-judgmental about the things that went right and the things that went wrong. You’ll never learn from your mistakes if you don’t acknowledge them, and you may never fully celebrate your triumphs unless you examine those, too.

Post by Sara Urquhart, director and co-founder of Alt Summit. Photo by Against the Woodgrain.