Collaboration across your organization: A dilettante’s musical analogy

dpzDUkJrTHb71Yla1EzF_IMG_4098How do different groups in your organization work together? In relation to music, do you and your colleagues sound more like a 100 piece orchestra playing Stars and Stripes Forever on Independence Day or a choir of cloistered sisters singing together a melodic chant on the same pitch with synchronized rhythm? Maybe you feel the frustration of belonging to a failed garage band that can’t get it right? I want this blog to help your organization succeed like the Beatles!

This week, my cousin, Matthew, and I headed to Symphony Hall in the City of Boston where the Pops performed A Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan (see note at the bottom). The program amazed us with the many talented maestros partnering to create a distinctly wonderful, Celtic sound. Testing the dynamism of every musician by infusing Celtic elements into both classical and contemporary music, it impressed everyone in the room. In that traditional setting, everyone came together and celebrated a genre no longer confined to the British Isles but spread across the globe.

I share that anecdote with you because our organizations too, like those musicians, can challenge the limits of experience and produce something remarkable. Not every member of the orchestra seems at home playing unfamiliar music but contributing to a larger group, they achieve something new and exciting.

We find ourselves in similar professional circumstances sometimes. Management asks us to work with a group with its own stylistic preferences. While it may lead to growth, the long road there challenges our understanding, outlooks and prospective. Win or lose, bear these points in mind during a collaborative process:

First, no one knows everything. Our experience tempts us during a new phase of a working relationship. Some refuse to dialogue believing that the other party lacks their priceless expertise while others withdraw from the conversation relinquishing their creative control and allowing another point of view to dominate. Neither mindset leads to the collaboration required to succeed! As good teammates, we need to listen with a desire to contribute our unique, original ideas.

Second, accept new, unfamiliar responsibilities and expand your knowledge base. While you cannot take on something that you are not capable of doing, we all can think of these things in terms of our roles. For me at Marchon Partners, this is my work with the Adobe Creative Suite. These products enable us to create our content from scratch; however, I have little experience with the platform and continue to learn. Take up something new and run with it.

Last, maintain professional relationships with everyone, regardless of their expertise. Our thinking becomes narrow-minded when we only exchange with like-mined people. Talk with the developer who you, as a marketer rarely see except in the break room. Communicate across your organization personally. Your firms bottom line hinges on strong, mutual cooperation.

TM

Timothy McGuirk serves as the Director of Marketing Communication at Marchon Partners. He studied public relations at Boston University’s College of Communication. Follow him on Twitter @mcguirkt and Intragram @timothymcguirk.


Note: For those not familiar, the Boston Pops’ tradition dates back to civil war and represents most of the universally acclaimed Boston Symphony Orchestra players. Offering concerts of more ‘popular’, the root of the name, nature, the ensemble celebrates its 130th season and 30th under the direction of Keith Lockhart. You may know the group’s laureate conductor, John Williams, for his work composing movie scores for more than 100 films including: all six Star Wars films, the first three Harry Potter films, Home Alone, Saving Private Ryan, ET and Catch Me If You Can. Simply put, this orchestra enjoys frequent international acclaim.

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