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How The Business League Creates a Collaborative Environment (And Five Mistakes to Avoid When Collaborating With a Business Partner)


Team Discussion

Collaborations can turn your business venture into a power to be reckoned with, but they aren’t devoid of pitfalls. Here are the most common ones to avoid.

Annette saw her business flourish after joining The Business League, mainly due to the supportive, comfortable atmosphere she encountered. 

And today, she claims that the greatest benefits of becoming involved with The Business League are the relationships she built, as well as the understanding and acceptance within the group. 

People and businesses thrive in the company of those that promote collaboration and remaining true to themselves. 

While the business world might seem distant and cold to some, the truth is that a nurturing environment built on mutual understanding and acceptance will provide a better opportunity for growth and success. 

Annette had the good fortune to discover these benefits firsthand, and her example perfectly showcases the core values of every successful collaboration. Sadly, many people face considerable challenges in this process due to some common mistakes.

Collaboration is a delicate process. It can fail without warning because of structural and personal shortcomings. However, it’s possible to improve the crucial aspects and make working with others enjoyable, more comfortable, and efficient. 

In this article, we’ll outline the common mistakes in collaboration and help you avoid them in the future. 

The Five Common Mistakes of Business Collaboration

Have you ever had a successful meeting with a potential strategic partner where you both left thinking, “This collaboration’s going to be amazing!”… 

…Only to be unpleasantly surprised in the following months?

If the answer is yes – and it likely is – you’ve likely fallen victim to the following five mistakes.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Mistake #1. Having NO Structure

Many businesses identify a potential collaboration partner and meet them for coffee or over Zoom. They have a great meeting and both parties agree there could be some great opportunities. So, everyone leaves excited and optimistic.

…And then nothing happens. No benefits for either party are ever realised.  

This is common in about 80% of networkers we talk to before they become involved in The Business League. 

There is one simple reason this happens. There is NO structure.

At The Business League we have a system called “The Strategic Partnership Plan” that means that instead of 20% of collaboration opportunities succeeding, our members enjoy the benefits of 80% of their partnerships succeeding.

Now, some of the impacts that not having a structure can have on the success or failure of a collaboration are:  

  • In the initial conversations, there is a heap of time wasted on both parties ‘chatting’, trying to get the other party to like them or see that they are worth partnering with.  This sets the relationship off on the wrong foot.
  • No structure means both collaborators leave the initial meetings and get caught back up in their businesses. They completely forget about the collaboration until much further down the track – by which stage it’s too late.
  • There is no accountability, so nothing gets done.
  • Parties are wanting to take-take-take. But without any giving, there is nothing to take.

Mistake #2. A Lack of Follow-Through

Following through with claims and promises is the critical factor in building trust, and this doesn’t only apply to big decisions. When collaborating with others, you should make sure to stay true to your word in all matters. 

Making and accepting a commitment should obligate you to fulfil it because you’ll become more reliable in your partner’s eyes. Failing to do that can only lead to distrust, a sure way to put a spoke in the wheel of any collaboration.

If you’re unable to follow through for any reason, make sure to let others know about it. Explain what’s going on and immediately propose an alternative solution. Once you do that, you should put all your focus into fulfilling the promise. 

Being sincere and openly communicating will contribute to building your reputation and relationship with your partners.

Make sure that after every meeting with partners, there is a clear understanding of what each party is going to do – what are your actions that you need to follow-through on? Be clear on this for both parties and make sure you follow through on your actions.

Mistake #3. No Accountability

Accountability is another vital aspect of successful collaborations. Avoiding it sets a business up for failure, and collaborations built on such foundations will suffer the same fate. 

When promoting accountability in a collaborative effort, you can focus on shared goals and the expected results. The crucial point when accountability will be tested is when problems start showing up – that’s the time for leadership qualities to shine. 

Great leaders will show a positive example and communicate solutions clearly.

This approach will be as efficient in business collaborations as it is in team leadership. If you want to ensure your strategic partners keep to their word, ensure you’re always following up on what you said you’ll do and holding them accountable to what they said they’d do.

Partners are equally accountable for the immediate actions each business takes and the results of those actions. That’s why you shouldn’t negotiate on what’s expected – your collaboration has clear goals it needs to achieve. Likewise, accountability can’t be turned on and off, but always remain consistent.

Finally, you should never avoid to stress any severe shortcomings. If the business you’re collaborating with doesn’t follow through on their behalf, call them out on it. Hold your partner accountable to the same measure as you do yourself.

Mistake #4. Not Making Collaboration a Habit

Working with others is a skill and a habit you can develop. More specifically, there are skills that you can work on if you wish to build that habit and make future collaborations less challenging.

Here are some of the most crucial:

  • Build and nurture trust. When people can openly share their opinions and maintain an honest relationship, every collaboration will flow smoothly and be less stressful.
  • Understand the other business and their dynamics. Your companies should arrive at a stage where they have no issues working together. Only then will they be able to perform their tasks effectively.
  • Create a habit of connecting and supporting your partner. All parties in a collaboration should get to know each other in detail and stand by each other’s side. Set up regular weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings and make sure to coordinate your efforts with your strategic partner. Make these meetings a habit that drives results.
  • There’s great power in negotiation. Collaboration can be understood as a series of negotiations that require plenty of skill. Devote your full attention to mastering the art of negotiation so you can resolve disputes without creating an enemy of the opposing side.

Mistake #5. Not Understanding Reciprocity

Humans have a natural tendency to give back, and this principle represents a vital building stone of every relationship. Naturally, reciprocity extends to business collaborations as well.

The best way to infuse a gift with meaning is to offer it without expecting anything in return. There’s a fine line between being genuine and manipulative in that regard, so you should always aim to be sincere when investing in a collaborative effort. 

Always have something up your sleeve that you can offer to your strategic partner. You can provide them with valuable contacts, share their content, or engage with their posts on social media – the crucial matter is that you do something that adds value and benefits them.

Quality Collaboration Is the Way to Success

Learning how to collaborate with others and developing relevant skills will prove very beneficial for your business efforts. Do it right and you’ll discover the power behind working with others. 

If you’d like to learn more about making your collaborations as effective as possible, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can:

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