5 things Thanksgiving can teach us about collaboration

| By: Craig Fulton

It’s happening again. Grocery stores are silently stocking up on stuffing, cranberries, poultry, and mashed potatoes. Somewhere in Washington D.C. the president’s finest are selecting the most qualified turkey to pardon, and every retail giant around is prepping to barrage you with Black Friday specials.

It’s a tense quiet before the storm.

But before the president pardons one lucky turkey to gobble another day, and Black Friday deals beckon, we take a moment to reflect on the first Thanksgiving.

In a great show of collaboration, Native Americans and Pilgrims partnered to create a harvest celebration, casting aside differences to enjoy the fruits of their season-long labor. It just goes to show that great things can happen when you maintain focus on the end goal and stay open to exploring new ideas and techniques.

Even today, Thanksgiving requires a massive amount of collaboration. Everyone plays a part.

The same concept applies to business, without everyone taking responsibility for his domain, and soliciting feedback to make sure projects are on point, you risk making real turkeys out of yourselves.

So what can we learn from Thanksgiving collaboration? Thanks for asking! We’ve identified 5 ways to apply Thanksgiving collaboration techniques to your business:

1.       Start a conversation

Ever been a week away from Thanksgiving with no clear plan? Ask questions. Make suggestions. Get the ball rolling. People are busy; they forget. Chances are they’re not avoiding you; they’re just overwhelmed with everything life is throwing at them.

2.       Make sure you’re not the turkey

It’s good to cycle through ideas quickly so you can swiftly identify the most viable solution. However, the only way to generate good ideas is to encouraging brainstorming. If you find that your team isn’t bringing forth ideas anymore, ask yourself if you’re being a turkey, obnoxiously shutting down everything your team brings to the table before even giving them a chance to explain it.

 3.       Bring something to the table

Collaboration requires give and take. It’s partnering to generate something better together than you could individually. Identify everyone’s unique skills upfront so you understand the basic tools everyone is bringing to the table. In practical terms, don’t ask the vegetarian to dress the turkey.

4.       Don’t complain

Something will go wrong. Collaboration ensues to solve a problem. Rather than complaining that there’s a problem, clearly identify it, and start to solve for x. Even if the turkey is burnt (or for the vegetarians out there, the tofurkey), someone still invested a lot of time and effort into trying to make it appetizing. Recognize the effort, and then seek a viable workaround.

 5.       Say thank you

Words of encouragement mean a lot. If someone goes the extra mile, take a moment to praise their efforts because if they feel their efforts are valued, they’re likely to step in to help again in the future.

With these five simple steps, you can turn the fiasco that is collaboration into a much more enjoyable experience for all.

At ConnectWise, our mission truly is to foster collaboration and growth among our partners.  Whether it’s through our award-winning business management solution, education, or community initiatives, we deliver all the resources business owners need to run a successful technology business.