Think about all of the times you collaborate in a day. You get to work in the morning, grab your coffee and you’re called into a meeting to discuss last minute changes to an upcoming project. After an intense brainstorming session all the issues are resolved and everyone is feeling great about their work. Later, during a weekly team meeting, you’re able to help troubleshoot a problem your co-worker has been struggling with all day. That’s the beauty of collaboration. A lot of the time, collaboration happens within the walls of your office. You help a co-worker, and get helped in return – all thanks to working together. And while you (hopefully) have co-workers that you truly enjoy working with, or at the very least don’t mind seeing each day, there are times when external collaboration is necessary. Achieving success often requires working with a contractor, teaming up with a consultant or meeting a client. Why is external collaboration beneficial? Here’s a list of 7 perks we’ve put together: 1: Brainstorming for new ideas. We’ve written about the need for a fresh set of eyes when it comes to problem solving on our blog before, and we know first hand it can make all the difference. External collaboration gives you another perspective for analyzing ideas. 2: Expand your network. There will come a time in the future when you might be looking for a different career opportunity, a place to volunteer or a professional organization to join. The connections you’ve made through collaborative relationships can give you the heads up on a not-yet-posted job, or even provide a reference. 3: Learn different ways to get things done. Everyone is going to have their preferred method for completing a task, whether it’s drafting a project brief or constructing client communication. Working with those from other organizations and backgrounds will give you insight into different ways of getting things done. 4: Opportunities to build your business. Each meeting you have with someone from outside your organization is an opportunity to build a sales relationship. Even if you’re not in sales, or the person you’re talking with isn’t a potential client, just creating the relationship could be enough to get a shining endorsement in the future to someone who is interested in your services. 5: A reason to try that new coffee place. Sure, this may seem like a novelty – but isn’t it great to have the opportunity to try that new coffee place/restaurant/dessert bar as a meeting point? Sounds like a good idea to me. 6: Learn from someone else’s experience/mistakes. It seems like the best lessons are learned in situations that don’t turn out quite like you’d envisioned. Nothing like a bit of pain or embarrassment to really drive the point home, right? Collaboration helps you learn about the pain points of others, and how they learned from them – allowing you to skip right to the meaningful moral of the story. 7: Try new technology. Touching on ‘learn different ways to get things done,’ connecting with those outside of your organization gives you the opportunity to learn more about how other groups get work done – including if they’re using any innovative technologies not yet on your radar. What are your favourite reasons for collaboration? Let us know in the comments below.