Don’t Be the Lone Ranger: Why Collaboration Gives Us More Than Just a Fuzzy Feeling
“Millennials’ is a term we’ve been hearing a lot of in recent months, and rightly so. Born after 1980, this generational group is now over 70 million strong and beginning to dominate the workplace. Luckily for me, I’m one of them, and can say that we really have grown up immersed in technology, and as a result, are completely at ease with it.
From multiple devices to apps and cloud-based solutions, we integrate it fully in both our professional and personal lives. Each of us has our own personal selection of favourite and least-favourite tools, which has allowed us to develop very individual work styles. A lot of people say our generation is just out for “me,” as highlighted by a colleague earlier this year. And with programmes like the Apprentice, it’s not hard to see where these people are coming from. But is the ‘lone ranger’ approach really best?
Individualists and Economic Growth
Drive and focus are fantastic qualities to have, and they’re crucial for achieving business success, particularly when the business world is more competitive and cutthroat than ever. However, a recent study from Co-operatives UK shows that collaborative entrepreneurs are actually more successful than ‘lone rangers’. They argue this approach is actually in danger of choking productivity and economic growth.
This is something organisations need to be particularly aware of at the moment, as research we conducted at the start of the year showed that 54% of workers feel they don’t get enough support from employers to drive business success, suggesting British employers aren’t doing enough to foster a productive workforce.
Internal Strength, External Success
If collaborative entrepreneurs are more successful, that’s all the more reason to look for ways to foster this within teams internally, but also within the wider business environment. It’s certainly something that’s on the agenda, with the Guardian’s Small Business Network encouraging knowledge-sharing from leading entrepreneurs. One of the standout points comes from Bulldog Natural Skincare’s co-founder Simon Duffy, who says “Great collaboration is one of the key foundations of business and should not be underestimated.” Duffy goes on to say that collaborating is important for strengthening teams internally and for building your network externally.
Meanwhile, others have been collaborating to increase revenues. A group of businesses in Lancashire pooled resources under the Media Village umbrella so they could pitch for bigger business. As member Tony Garner explains, “We’ve formed a trusted alliance of professionals with a wealth of experience in different disciplines and, through working together, we are pitching and winning major accounts.”
So, the business benefits of collaboration seem to be two-fold. Not only does it increase your skill-set and offerings, but it allows you to aim higher than you would as an individual operation. I’d urge all businesses not to be the ‘lone ranger’, but to collaborate, as it gives you far more than just a fuzzy feeling.