How Do You Get Beyond the “Sharing Ideas” Stage of Collaboration?

By Paul Starkey
Published on: April 16, 2021

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We’ve all been to multiple meetings, conferences, seminars, and group events where Custom Integrators share ideas about best ways to operate their similar businesses. CEDIA Business Exchange, ProSource, HTSA, & Azione meetings have all recently concluded. These are great forums for sharing. But … then what?

Congratulations to you if you have ever followed up such a collaboration and actually implemented an idea or two. That’s smart. But it’s still you, working largely on your own.

What we’ve learned through our years with Bravas Group is that true collaboration involves much more than sharing ideas. When these deeper levels of collaboration occur, Group Intelligence begins to truly display its power.

Ideas. This is where participants open up to each other, share best practices and ideas on the business. For the most part this is where most collaboration efforts stay. It’s great ideation and sparks thoughts amongst its members. We have all been to a conference or two that offers these opportunities.

Information. When the exchange starts to share specific information between and about companies the collaboration reaches a more personalized version of #1. The knowledge and wisdom of the group often progresses at this point.

Conformity.  Building on the first two, this phase seeks to identify standards, common ways of doing things and adds definitions that companies can choose to conform to. The process is now moving more to an action stage versus just listening or identifying opportunities.

Accountability. This is a monumental step forward. It requires participants to buy-in to the group notions and standards and be accountable to each other, further cementing the actions and outcomes of the group.

Engagement. In engagement, the group moves from more passive involvement to actively working together. This level of collaborating is high intensity and methods of communicating and performing are well advanced.  At this level goals and vision are singular and a commitment to continuous improvement exists. The good of the Group is placed before the good of any individual participant.

We’ve been blessed to see our core Bravas Group members advance to Engagement. Others in our group will soon join them. The reward they seek is enhanced financial strength and market power. Each day, this looks more likely to occur.

All because they have committed to engagement.

Keep it Vital.

Paul Starkey

Paul Starkey

Paul Starkey is a 23 year CI industry veteran who led control manufacturer ELAN from infancy to a 150 person company. He is a visionary, keen on innovation, pioneer of on-line training, and numerous product innovations. He is co-founder of Vital Management.

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