Teamwork and Collaboration as the Keys to Mastery and Impact, with Pam Slim, Episode #6

My guest on this episode is a true master of collaboration and a dynamic woman I’m honored to have as my guest on the podcast. Pam Slim is an award-winning author, speaker, and business consultant and she’s been actively working as an entrepreneur for twenty years. She’s helped hundreds of people start and grow successful businesses over the years, and what I particularly love is that she’s got a history of successful collaborations in a variety of areas. That’s why I wanted to chat with her during this first season about what it takes to become a true master of collaboration. I hope you’ll take the time to hear what she shares about teamwork and collaboration on this episode.

Great collaboration happens when people are fully present and interested in the humans around them

When I asked Pam about a collaboration she was part of that didn’t go according to plan, she referenced an experience she had where many high-level creators were involved. They were all experts in their fields and found it difficult to engage in the kind of interaction necessary to make the collaboration a pleasure for everyone involved. Though it was a successful collaboration in terms of outcomes, Pam said it is a situation she feels she could have facilitated better through ensuring everyone understood the need to be fully present and genuinely interested in the people involved and what they could bring to the table. Find out how Pam recommends facilitating great collaborations within your team, on this episode of Masters of Leadership.

The rise of the digital age makes collaborations both exciting and challenging

Pam Slim is a staunch advocate of all things digital and the opportunity technology provides for people to learn new skills, develop their existing expertise, and branch out into new opportunities. But she also acknowledges that the digital ages brings its share of challenges as well. In this conversation, Pam and I spend a good deal of time discussing the ins and outs of collaboration and social connection in the digital age – and we did so with the reality of introverts and extroverts in mind. We determined that people need to use the tools available in ways that are aligned with their personal bent. This is a very practical portion of our conversation I think many people could be helped by, so be sure you listen and share.

A great collaboration requires strong opinions, weakly held

One of the people Pam Slim respects and quotes often is Bob Sutton, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University. Bob is known for quoting another Bob, Bob Johansen of Palo Alto’s Institute for the Future, who said, “People should have strong opinions, which are weakly held.” In this conversation, Pam points out that this advice is particularly helpful when it comes to taking part in any collaboration. You need to bring your best to the table, which means strongly advocating for your point of view. But you also need to hold those opinions weakly in deference to the wisdom of the group as a whole – because you know the synergy that comes from your collaborative efforts will bring about a greater result than you could on your own. You can glean more great wisdom like this from Pam on this episode, so be sure you take the time to listen.

Get clear about your area of expertise: you’ll be better able to identify collaborative partners

When I spoke with Pam Slim for this interview, one of the things I wanted to know was what advice she’d give to those who want to find partners with whom they can successfully collaborate. Pam said one of the most important things is that you need to be clear about your particular area of expertise first of all. When you are, you’ll be able to see the areas where you need the most help, have blind spots, or could use a different perspective, which will show you the types of people you need to reach out to when you want to form collaborations. I loved this conversation because Pam gave such relevant advice like this, so I encourage you to listen and learn how you can foster teamwork and collaboration as a key to your own mastery.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] What you should know about Pam, her books, and her business milestones
  • [4:06] What’s similar or different about making successful collaboration happen in small and large businesses?
  • [7:51] An example of making collaboration happen in a large organization
  • [10:18] The most successful collaborations Pam has experienced and the common elements in them
  • [13:30] Characteristics of ineffective collaborations
  • [17:03] How the rise of the digital age impacts the ability to collaborate
  • [22:24] Tips for becoming a better master of collaboration

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