Five Steps To Improve Leadership Collaboration

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Mike Vietri is Chief Distribution Officer for AmeriLife, a national leader in distributing and marketing insurance and financial solutions.

As leaders and entrepreneurs, it’s in our nature to take ownership and forge the way for our team. We may not always be the best collaborators, but collaboration (even with your perceived competition) can be the key to unlocking our true potential.

As AmeriLife’s distribution continues to grow, entrepreneurs who have achieved success on their own merits are now becoming part of our family of companies. This presents us with an incredible opportunity to bring the power of all of those individuals together, creating a culture of collaboration and our “together as one” mentality.

We’ve achieved success on our own merits, and now our future success relies on one another. It’s an exciting idea but one that can be challenging to implement. When it comes down to it, there are five crucial steps to figuring it out.

1. Understand the value of collaboration.

When leaders come together to work toward a larger goal, the result can be truly remarkable. Collaborating with other leaders has many benefits. First and foremost, it allows us to learn from one another and gain new perspectives. When we come together, we can share our experiences and learn from experts in the field. We can bounce ideas off of these other important leaders in our field and gain insight from their experiences.

Collaboration helps us feel as if we’re part of something bigger. It can be a lonely feeling to be in command, but a team of leaders working together can make the journey so much easier. You no longer have to go it alone, and you can draw strength from the collective knowledge and experience of everyone involved.

In collaborating, we’re given an opportunity to invest in ourselves and others. We all know the saying, “You get what you put into it,” and this is especially true when it comes to successful collaboration. We must be willing to put in the effort and trust in the process if we want to experience the full benefits.

2. Find leaders with similar challenges.

It’s important to have a support system of like-minded individuals who have faced and overcome similar challenges. By pooling resources, knowledge and creativity, business owners can create synergies to achieve more ambitious goals than they ever could alone.

If you’re unsure of your jumping-off point, start by networking in your local business community. Attend industry and networking events, and talk to people in the same industry. See if they have the same goals as you and are willing to collaborate. Once you’ve identified potential partners, it’s time to start building relationships. Be open to new ideas and strategies. Share stories about your successes and failures. Discuss the challenges you face and how you’re working to overcome them.

3. Foster a culture of collaboration among your peers.

Creating a culture of collaboration and trust can lead to better outcomes and successes. As a group, take time to identify ways you can all collaborate.

Serve together on boards, committees, panels or councils to help create a sense of shared purpose and understanding among different leaders and teams. You can also create or join forums for best-practice sharing so that everyone can benefit from each other’s experience and unique expertise.

Work in groups to solve larger, industry-wide challenges. By pooling your resources and ideas, you can come up with creative solutions and work together to implement them. Set collective goals and key messaging that everyone can agree on, and then reinforce them in all settings. This will foster a sense of unity and help ensure that everyone is working together toward a common goal.

4. Break down industry barriers.

As leaders, we have the power to shape the future of our industry. The solution to creating a collaborative environment is to align around shared challenges and encourage working together to reach goals. This means providing a “safe space” where leaders can speak their minds openly and honestly. It starts with leaders listening to each other and being open to different ideas. This can help foster trust and collaboration among the team, which can lead to better outcomes.

Leaders must be willing to take risks and embrace change, including taking a more flexible approach to problem-solving that encourages collaboration and experimentation. Always think outside the box and challenge the status quo to break down barriers and create innovative solutions to larger problems.

5. Invest in your relationships.

It’s essential that we invest in our relationships with industry peers on both a personal and business level. After all, the best relationships are built on more than just exchanging professional pleasantries. It’s important to connect outside of organized forums. This could be something as simple as taking a break to talk about family life, hobbies and interests. Leisure time spent together helps to create a more natural rapport and leads to a more meaningful connection with your peers.

Another great way to invest in relationships is by creating team-building opportunities. This could be anything from meeting for happy hour to a virtual game night or a “lunch and learn.” By mixing business and pleasure, you can build a sense of camaraderie and strengthen relationships.

By taking the time to foster a culture of collaboration among your leadership peers, you’ll be in a position to create something bigger and better than you could ever achieve on your own. From sharing best practices to solving industry-wide challenges, working together with other leaders in your industry can lead to amazing results.

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