How do you Collaborate?

Ever have one of those days where you’ve got an idea bouncing around in your head and you just can’t shake it loose? You know you’re on the brink of genius, but you just can’t seem to flush it out. Maybe you’ve even had a couple of days like that in a row. Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us. Everyone is rushing from task to task, and just like in the flow of a river, your idea is caught up in a tangle of leaves and rocks – or more realistically, a busy workplace and hectic routine – but you get the picture.

So let’s get back to real life – what does it all mean?

It could be time to switch up your routine. Take a moment and understand what’s causing the roadblock. For me, it’s often that I’m looking too closely at a problem and need a fresh shot of new ideas. Usually that comes in the form of collaboration. In many cases, collaboration can be the catalyst that takes that little rattling nugget and turns it into the next break in your case, client support piece or sales pitch. Obtaining someone else’s perspective can provide clarity on an issue that you’ve been focusing too closely on. If you’ve been working closely with a project, you might need a fresh set of eyes.

Like last week in our office, for example. We were mulling over how to better explain a concept. Lucky for us, we had a friend sharing our workspace that day. While he listened to us going back and forth on the idea, he chimed in with a suggestion that was brilliant in its simplicity. Just like that – a problem that we had been concentrating on for over a week was solved in a five minute thought exchange.

Working together can be one of the best tools anyone has at their disposal. Even if you have a job that is generally focused on solitary tasks, or you work remotely, you can realize the benefits of soliciting the opinion of others on certain projects. Don’t limit your collaboration to only those in your immediate surroundings. Thanks to the Internet and online collaboration tools, you can crowdsource opinions, and return the favor by helping others in the same boat. Let your little idea grow with the help of others. Consider seeking different ways of seeing things on your favorite social networks. Who knows, that friend you made in college could have just the point-of-view you’re looking for. Same goes for online question forums like Quora. Don’t be afraid to put your question out there, you could find the answer you need in unexpected places.

How do you use collaboration to shake things up? Let us know in the comments below.

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