Today's blog in the #BeTheRippleBlogs series is a lovely piece from Greg Friel entitled 'Collaboration is the Key to Success'.
Greg is a Musician and Marketer based in Glasgow, Scotland. He works as a Singer,Songwriter and Record Producer and helps businesses with creative strategies for social media marketing.
You can find him on LinkedIn: Here and on Twitter: @FrielanceMusic.
Over to Greg:
Collaboration is the Key to Success
No man is an island. Nobody does it all alone. Even the stories you hear of the "self-made man" are rarely as straight-forward as you'd imagine.
There's always been an element of luck involved. Hard work, talent, determination and a willingness to succeed irrespective of the odds are ultimately what makes the difference in the end and these factors can obviously not be discounted.
But a helping hand along the way...somebody who said " I like what you're doing I'd like to help you out if I can" can make the difference between that all-important door opening and not.
Having that connection-both connecting with someone on a personal level and that onward connection to the gatekeeper or even past the gatekeeper is essential for success.
So that's what we're talking about today-collaboration.
The secret behind every success story is the story of a group of people-however small-helping each other work towards a common goal-or indeed just supporting each other. Being there whenever a helping hand was needed. The gig economy has meant there's many more people multi-tasking yes-but jumping from project to project-working short-term-...sharing skills, sharing contacts, sharing talents...collaboration makes it happen. The key word here is sharing.
This is a subject that is discussed in Malcolm Gladwell’s great book “Outliers”-The Story Of Success.
There are so many other factors involved in each individual story…from being born at the right time, going to the right school, having the right connections. Being a genius helps as well! I’d totally recommend reading this book if you’re interested in understanding the many varied paths to success. It’s never just the one thing in isolation.
I was fortunate years ago, early in my music career, to work with the Acclaimed British Film Director Ken Loach on the film "Carla's Song".
I had a very small role to play. I was merely playing the part of nightclub singer...not much a stretch!
I was singing two songs live in the movie-which was slightly nerve-racking but I love a challenge.
The scene started with me singing "Your Song" by Elton John in the background. So, if I screwed up what I was doing the scene would have to reset and start again. So, I didn't want to screw up!
But the reason I'm mentioning this story is because Ken Loach practices what he preaches. Everybody on that set had an equal part to play and I was made to feel just as important as the lead characters in the scene. It was truly a collaborative process for him. But, by having that approach he ensured that he got the best out of me and everyone else on that set. I didn't want to let him down. I wanted to do my best.
I will be the first to admit that collaboration has not come easy to me. I was very closed off to it when I first started making music. The joy for me was making music by myself. So, it took a while for me to get into the right mindset for collaboration. There was a certain amount of “letting go” that I had to do…realising that maybe I didn’t have all the answers. Ultimately though whenever you work with collaborators that creatively challenge you to do better and stimulate you to come up with your best possible work…that is when the true benefits of creative collaboration are to be found. In the end, what I found was that by being more open in that area of my work I became more receptive to input in other areas. I also, by accident, became a better listener. Practicing that old saying “you have two ears and one mouth”-in other words listen more and talk less.
Collaboration, particularly in the digital age, has become a completely different thing as well. I’m sure lots of us regularly work with other people in different countries on projects, whom we have never met. I have done songwriting sessions on Skype/Zoom. I regularly write melodies and lyrics over the top of backing tracks that are sent to me from people all over the world. It is the norm. Equally, I’ll put tracks together for other writers to write “toplines”/melodies to. This way of working is common place in most creative businesses these days.
The important thing about all of this is that people are working together. By working together we can all rise. We are also creating ever more opportunities for success by not limiting ourselves to our own abilities or connections.
In collaboration we tend to gravitate to those people who share our values and beliefs. In effective organisations when those teams are working towards a common purpose that’s when the strongest bonds are formed. We all want to have that sense of belonging. We all want to feel that what we are doing is worthwhile and appreciated. We want to be involved. But we also want our contributions to be recognised. Collaborate ? Yes. But, don’t take all the credit for yourself. Credit where credit is due.
There’s a wonderful tradition in Africa called Ubuntu that is perfectly described by Nelson Mandela:-
“The profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others. That if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievements of others”.
Isn’t that a wonderful idea? That only by working together can we truly accomplish anything.
Thank you so much to Greg for sharing this lovely piece, a piece that clearly demonstrates the importance, power and kindness behind the idea of collaboration.
#BeTheRipple is solely based on the premise that collaboration can bring ideas, energies and kindness together to create positive change to our working world and without collaboration, we would not have achieved so much in such a short space of time. Massive thanks to everyone who has shown kindness and/or collaborated with us so far: big shout out to Sasidhi Silva and Devina Ahluwalia for their kindness to me during one of the toughest periods of my life, it helped me to move forward; Gary Cookson for allowing me to share a blog piece in his blog series in April this year, a piece which would bring me out of my grief slumber and spark my thoughts around bringing people together in communities of kindness; to Linda James for listening to some of my very first ideas; to Perry Timms for allowing me to share my 'Tall Poppy' piece on his own blog and to everyone who took the time to read the piece, comment and/or contact me - in particular Jenny Streeter for having taken the time to read my piece, listen, encourage, come up with ideas and help me build on mine; to Perry Timms (again!) for sparing his time and expertise in facilitating an Agile Lab session which became the first moment our team came together; to the #BeTheRipple team for all their ongoing ideas, input and efforts; to the HR Pub Quiz group for their ongoing support, friendship and kindness, it has helped keep me motivated in tough times; to Jennifer Sullivan for suggesting, setting up and co-ordinating our #WorkingOutLoud circles and to John Stepper for allowing us to run with his program; to Scott Leiper for his amazing idea to run #Kindfest2020 and for his and Kirsty Mac's support, time and efforts in putting it all together; to everyone who had any part in #Kindfest, as a speaker, a facilitator or an attendee; to Francisco Reyes Pereira for giving us a slot to talk at the Behave 4 #BEHR Summit; to Nicky Hoyland and her team for their ongoing support; to everyone who is a part of the #BeTheRipple movement and community in any way - a massive shout out to you all. Our movement demonstrates the power of showing kindness through collaboration.
If you are not yet a member of the #BeTheRipple community, we would love you to join us. You can find us on Twitter: @BeTheRipple2020 and/or in our LinkedIn community: Here
Thank you once again to Greg for sharing this wonderful piece on collaboration. As Greg's piece suggests, coming together with shared values and goals is perhaps one of the most powerful ways we can show kindness in workplaces, to others and to ourselves.
If you would like to submit a blog for this series, please send your work via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or send to me via LinkedIn.
You can find PDFs of all blog pieces: