Originally published in the WBE Canada Magazine; Issue 7. Read our full magazine HERE.
By: Jamie Crump (President, The Richwell Group, LLC) &
Lindsay Lapaquette (Owner, Collaborative Solutions)
Collaboration is a business term that can mean a lot of different things to different people. But what is it really? How do you know if you are getting the best results? How can you improve the collaborative effort at your company?
At this year’s Supplier Diversity Toolkit Workshop, one thing we looked at was how to better collaborate with internal stakeholders who live with procurement results. These people can do so much to champion supplier diversity efforts across an organization. To get you thinking about the topic, WBE Canada asked this year’s speakers Jamie Crump and Lindsay Lapaquette to share five tips that will improve collaboration efforts and results.
1. Collaboration and consensus are two different things.
Getting the best ideas and getting everyone to agree. Consensus feels good, but let’s face it – expecting everyone to agree about every decision can be a recipe for disaster. Collaboration gets things done. Give everyone the opportunity to be heard, then have a process for making decisions and moving forward.
2. Active listening requires the full presence of both parties.
Have you ever been talking to someone at a party, and you realize they are only half listening to you as they scan the room to see if there is someone better/cuter/higher up the ladder etc. to talk to? Active listening means you are giving that person your undivided attention, asking questions, and seeking to understand.
3. Words don’t always land as intended.
Perception is 9/10’s of the law. You may have a photographic memory, but if the person you are speaking to doesn’t feel heard, it isn’t going to count for much. Clarifying intent and being open to feedback about the impact of your words are an important part of collaboration. This is especially true as we conduct more business online. Encourage feedback often.
4. Leave your ego at the door.
The main strength behind collaboration is that you can bring together a group with diverse talents and experiences who can come up with the best ideas. If everyone is going to be comfortable bringing their best to the table, there is no room for the competition of whose idea it was, why a suggestion will never work, or which part of the solution (yours) is most important.
5. It can be messy, but in a good way.
A lot of ideas get talked about. There may be some healthy debate on what the right answers are. Someone will eventually have to decide on what is going to happen next (see tip #1 above). For a “shortest distance between two points kind of person” it can seem like a lot of excess dialogue. Fear not. Not only will the results be better, but everyone who collaborated will have learned so much in the process that they will do an even better job next time.
Jamie Crump is President of The Richwell Group, LLC, a global consultancy in sourcing and supplier diversity. She is a recognized global thought leader and speaker on both topics and consultant to WBE Canada’s Membership programs including its Accelerator Program and Supplier Diversity Toolkit Workshops.. Crump is also the author of Backstage Pass: Pulling the Curtain back on the Business of Supplier Diversity.
Lindsay Lapaquette, M.Sc.(A), owner, Collaborative Solutions applies her expertise in the neuroscience of communication to help managers foster an environment of trust and respect so that everyone can bring their best selves to work. Lindsay brings extensive experience in emotional regulation, trauma-informed de-escalation, cultural proficiency, collaborative problem-solving, and mental health to her work. As a consultant to WBE Canada, Lindsay has most recently been instrumental in the expansion of Supplier Diversity Toolkit and Workshop with a brand new Communications module.