Collaboration is a requirement for nearly every communications project today. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the economy, with many individuals working as independents. Or perhaps it’s just a necessity of our ever-expanding field, both online and off.
Whatever the cause, the list of experts, specialists and digital gurus on most projects can be quite extensive—brand strategists, Web producers, designers, copywriters, project managers, developers, media buyers… oh, and don’t forget the client team.
Working with a variety of experts can be challenging, to say the least, especially if those experts represent multiple companies or internal departments. So how do you play nice and still accomplish results?
Here are five ways to make the most of collaboration and the important reasons why you should.
1. Check your ego at the door. Remember it’s all about the project at hand, not you. Take confidence in knowing that you’ve been invited to the table because of your knowledge and skill set that others already respect. Tooting your own horn too much is just a turn off to the rest of the team.
2. Clarify roles and set expectations at the start of a project. Things will go much smoother if everyone knows who’s responsible for what. Create a clear project schedule and get confirmation and buy-in upfront. It’s amazing what gets done when others are counting on you and what gets put aside when you assume someone else will do the job. Don’t leave the details to the devil, or the whole project will go to hell.
3. Don’t point fingers if things get bumpy. Remember it’s a team effort—you all win or you all fail. It’s not only possible, it’s entirely likely that something at some point will get off track. But it’s not the problem that others will remember when the project is done, it’s how you respond and fix the issue that will define your leadership and expertise.
4. Acknowledge your shared skill sets. It’s okay (even good) to be alike in some ways. Shared expertise means you have advocates on the team who know the importance of your role. And most projects have more than enough work to go around. So don’t be territorial. Instead, look for ways to build off each other’s ideas and create a better end result than any one individual could have accomplished alone.
5. Take advantage of working with other pros. Learning, adapting, and growing is what every good expert does best. Glean knowledge, new ideas, and improved ways of working from the experts around you. And since it’s part of your job, it’s like getting an education and getting paid at the same time. Now that’s a good deal.