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Collaboration = Partnership

by | May 13, 2021 | Leadership, Teams


As I prepare for my gymnastics meet I pace the gym running through my floor routine over and over. Counting each dance step, simulating each back flip, cartwheel and pass in my mind over and over brings me to formulate a solid plan to score big. I envision myself on the podium as a gold medal winner.

Why is this important in my business life? Why do I replay my team sport days over and over? It’s where I learned to collaborate, to create partnerships that drive our team to the desired outcomes of winning. 


Each sport team taught me something different

Gymnastics taught me grace. How to command a room with precision. Be on the mark each time bearing the load of the team in each move. I could win a solo medal, but it wasn’t as much fun as winning as a team. Track and Field taught me stamina. Don’t quit. Look toward the finish line taking our relay team to victory. Learning to depend on my teammates and handle a baton each step of the way in partnership. Softball brought process and stability. Rules didn’t change much and each player worked in harmony to accomplish more runs than the other team. 

Flash forward

How do I apply these lessons to my business teams? How can I bring this team spirit to my work life? In taking those lessons I realize what is required; communication, over-communication, actually. There are times I am the cheerleader in the dugout encouraging our teammates in their role,  and sometimes I am handing things off to my relay team executing with precision ensuring the next collaborator is set up to help take us across the finish line.

You may ask yourself, “is partnership really possible in a boss/individual contributor relationship?” I can confidently say, “yes!” Creating partnership and collaboration begins with building the right team. Creating a process and a plan for regular communication can seem daunting; however, there are tools to guide you and assist you in putting that meeting cadence into existence. Do you see how my collaboration with my teams creates partnership? All driving for the same result and outcomes.

What tools do I use?

As a coach and contributor, you need tools to facilitate collaboration/partnership. I use productivity tools such as to bring my team together on a regular basis. We found weekly works best to solve our most important issues; however, we do meet daily for a 15 minute check in. You may be thinking, “wow daily? Ouch!” It’s awesome, to be honest. This allows us to document what we have on our agendas for the day and quickly remove obstacles and barriers to accomplishing our team’s objectives.

This has increased our productivity as a team, created true partnerships and driven business results faster than any other team in the organization. Other teams ask us how we can accomplish so much in such short order? My answer is always the same: create partnerships by collaborating on a regular basis. 

At everything lives somewhere. One place to give a view into what we each are working on each day/week. We come to our weekly meeting and celebrate all we have accomplished as a team (my favorite part is getting confetti when I get 100% of my action items complete). We make meetings fun and we can honestly say those are our “best meetings ever!”.


Written by
Kathy Mayfield

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