things leaders need to hear about collaboration

5 things leaders need to hear about collaboration

Collaboration is not so much about what you do but how you do it.

1. Be clear about your personal intention
The mindset of a founder, entrepreneur or leader has greater impact on the outcome of collaboration than the what or how of what you do. Personal power, influence, control or the need for kudos are deeply corrosive causes for the break down of collaboration and surprisingly common.

2. Don’t hoard the ‘why’ for collaboration
The why for what we do helps us make great decisions on the how. BUT buying in to the why isn’t just about rah rah leadership (over sell). It is about patient engagement with the problem or opportunity your ‘why’ is addressing. Collaboration is best created with a slow and steady hand on the start.

3. Care deeply about the team and pocket your terminal ‘rightness’
If an idea needs collaboration it’s because one person can’t do it on their own. This means the minds and hearts of a range of people need to be engaged. An overbearing or deaf founder/ leader/ creator exhaust committed and well meaning followers. You don’t want ‘yes men or women’ in a start up phase.

4. Value skills in others that irritate you
People like you are going to replicate what you are good at (and quite likely what you are not so good at). Get some leadership education about yourself – preferences, styles, values. Learning to work with people who are different is worth its weight in gold. By and by difference not sameness will win the day in collaboration.

5. Be at the centre but not the top
Hierarchies are less and less relevant to affecting change or creating collaboration. Better to think of yourself at the centre of a process and that your actions and choices are about making life easier, smarter, faster and kinder for everyone else.

Cleverness is part of collaboration. Kindness amplifies it immeasurably.



Image courtesy of jscreationzs /


  1. Talina Edwards

    Great post Fabian – these are very helpful tips for a new collaboration I’ve been involved with – so thank you.
    And an even BIGGER thank-you for your generous advice, speaking at the Big-Hearted Business conference! x

    May 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm Reply

  2. Fabian Dattner

    You are a wonderful woman. Your comment made my and a few of our team’s day!

    June 14, 2014 at 11:11 am Reply

  3. administrator

    We’re so glad you were able to get so much information!

    December 28, 2013 at 8:10 am Reply

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