For people who work 9-5 jobs, it can be difficult to collaborate with others, or even identify what to collaborate on. After all, it’s not like you have a business idea, and you are now seeking investors. But that’s not entirely true; collaboration cuts across every sphere of life, the workplace included.
Before now, I believed collaboration was not for people like me, and was only for entrepreneurs. My mindset changed about two years ago when an essay I submitted to an international organisation did not make it to the top 3. Kunle, a colleague who had reviewed my essay before submission, felt the article was good, so he suggested I co-publish with a senior colleague in a local journal.
Our conservation seemed random, but I took his advice and ran with it. That was my light bulb moment! “Why hadn’t I thought about this since?” I asked myself. I guess it is for the unconscious bias that collaboration was something only peculiar to entrepreneurs. I brought my colleague on board, and we worked together to improve the quality of the paper and voila! Our paper was accepted.
Here are a few things you can collaborate with others on as a ‘9to5er’:
The missing puzzle to your best ideas is most likely with someone else, but because we insist on “my own thing,” those ideas never come to fruition. For me, I have gotten clarity on ideas from talking about it. We are often racking our brains, and trying to proffer solutions for our employer when we can brainstorm with a trusted colleague. Sometimes, when given a task, I seek the opinion of a senior colleague to make my report more robust. People like to be asked for their opinion, so leverage on that.
I have noticed that the ad-hoc duties in the workplace are mostly assigned based on the boss’s judgement of who he/she knows is the right person for the job. I have also observed that some colleagues are exceptional performers but they have poor visibility in the workplace, so key stakeholders like your boss do not know them. That is a good place to put them forward by suggesting that you undertake the assignment together, particularly when the project has a time constraint.
Collaboration in the workplace has its many advantages, some of which are:
The saying that two good heads are better than one is absolutely true. Whenever we collaborate, we bring all of our resources, networks, skills and strength together, and this guarantees an outstanding result.
Collaboration is not a sign of weakness, it, instead, amplifies your strength. For example, when I received a copy of the journal where our paper was published, I sent a screenshot to my mentors and sponsors at work. People who did not know of my co-author began to ask me about her. A relationship can be birthed through that.
In life, the distance between where you are and where you want to be is who you know. So start thinking of collaborating with your colleagues today.
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