What’s the purpose of meetings? You might say it depends on the type of meeting. Different meetings have different purposes. A staff meeting has a different purpose from a sales meeting. Fair enough.
But if we could distill it down to one common and essential purpose, we might agree, the purpose of any type of meeting, whether sales, staff, brainstorming, project management, etc., is to grow.
In the parlance of football, it’s to move the ball forward, if ever so slightly, towards a goal, one yard, and one first down at a time – to better the team’s field position – to extend in a certain direction, to the goal. It is to grow the yardage, the sacks, the tackles, the touchdowns, the field goals, and ultimately the score.
Growth takes collaboration. One person can’t do it alone. Neither can a team made up of all quarterbacks be successful. It takes a lot of different players, all working together to grow.
The same can be said for non-sports related businesses. Their purpose is to grow. To increase shareholder value, serve customers, develop people, and make the world a more connected and better place.
Here are 3 Credos successful collaborators use to grow their business through meeting and working together with others.
Collaborators Draw out the Best in Everyone’s Thinking
This is at the heart of what it means to be a collaborator: Two (or more) are better than one – the sum is greater than the parts. The collaborator doesn’t believe he is the smartest one in the room. Collaborators don’t pick people to include in their meetings who fail to challenge their thinking. Neither do they look to have their ideas, plans or thinking rubber stamped. They actively and intentionally seek people who will challenge them, and give their best, without fear of recrimination.
Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend, in one of the most popular TED talks to date put it this way: “Surround yourself with passionate people.” These are people who inspire achieving the impossible. They are the people who believe anything is possible. They are the ones who’ll give you their unvarnished, honest views and ideas. They don’t show up in meetings to endure them, they come with a relentless desire to make them exceptional.
It’s up to you, the meeting leader (aka: lead collaborator), to manage your surroundings; it’s to choose the right people and get the best of everyone’s thinking. Growth-based collaborators spend time with the people who will give their best and elevate everyone’s thinking to higher levels.
Collaborators’ Invite Diversified Perspectives
This Credo, while implied in the preceding one, is too important to gloss over. The benefit of seeking diverse perspectives goes beyond the achievement of worthwhile business objectives. It leads to personal growth as well. In his aforementioned TED talk, Dinsmore quotes Jim Rohn’s inspiring axiom: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
If we let that sink in a bit we begin to better understand the power of diversity in growth-based collaboration. If all we do is spend time with people who think like us, believe like us, act like us, and yes, talks like us, all we’ll get is just a bunch more of us. To collaborate is to actively seek perspectives from a diverse talent base. Doing so helps you grow the business of serving a diverse audience base.
Michael Hyatt, speaking about the benefits of collaboration in a recent podcast said, “I think for a business, if you’re a business serving a diverse audience, if you don’t have a diverse employee base or a diverse executive team or a diverse staff, you’re going to be missing the audience. You’re going to be missing part of the audience you want to be reaching.” (From The 5 Benefits of Collaboration.)
The key is to not just be open to different viewpoints, but to actively seek them. This will make your meetings highly collaborative. It may be a little painful at times, but, as the saying goes, “No pain, no gain!”
Collaborators Adapt and Change Course, Quickly
It’s not easy to change course, especially when you’re committed to the plan and goal. In the movie Perfect Storm, Captain Billy Tyne, upon leading his crew to make the catch of a lifetime, failed to adapt to the conditions and turn the boat around soon enough. He steamed straight into the mouth of the hurricane. He then tried to reverse course, but it was too late. The storm swallowed up the Andrea Gail, their catch, and all of their dreams for the future.
One might argue Tyne bullied his crew to go for the catch despite the rapidly changing and extremely dangerous weather conditions they faced. He failed to effectively collaborate with his crew. Captain Tyne meant well, but was an ineffective collaborator.
Seasoned collaborators have the courage to be highly flexible and adaptive, even if it means changing the course. Unlike Tyne in the Perfect Storm, they live to fish another day. They recognize their weakness and the strengths of others. They take it all in and adjust to changing conditions. And because they do, they make progress, even if it’s a small win.
“Every day do something that
will inch you closer to a
– Doug Firebaugh
Collaborators assemble their diverse team; they draw out the best in everyone’s thinking. They examine all the data and conditions impacting their path to the goal, and they adapt the game plan, accordingly. Instead of trying to accomplish everything – all at once – they make incremental progress and celebrate the growth.
It’s Time to Collaborate
One of the things you hear many NFL head coaches say in the preseason is, “If we’re going to grow and be successful as a football team, we must learn from our mistakes.” So they have meetings to go over film and discuss what mistakes need to be eliminated, what adjustments need to be made. They return to the field and practice what they’ve learned, together.
Imagine it’s halftime. What have you learned about your team and the current market conditions? Is your team passionately committed to the goal? Do you invite their best thinking? Do they represent diverse perspectives that align with the varying needs of your entire customer base?
What adjustments, what changes need to be made? Will you make them before it’s too late?
The clock is ticking. Another wave of the unexpected is heading your way; of this you can be sure.
Your team needs you to be a collaborator. So meet with them in genuine collaboration.
Using these Credos, take the growth-based collaborator challenge and move forward, one yard, once score at a time, and grow.