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Collaborate!

Collaborate!                                               

By Greg Kozera–

We just got back from our spring vacation and to Florida and Walt Disney World last week with our youngest son and his family. My wife and I are annual pass holders so I never really noticed what the cost of a one-day admission had become.  During Easter Week, a one-day ticket to the Magic Kingdom costs $139.00. Thousands of people from all over the world were at the Magic Kingdom last week. The ride lines were long with an hour-long wait being common.

People still happily paid the $139 admission price. Walt Disney World is not just about the rides or shows. The Disney folks find ways to create a magical experience for their guests. They always seem to find ways to do the little things and sometimes big things that go above expectations to delight their guests. On our visit, Space Mountain, an indoor high- speed roller coaster, broke down during the time we were scheduled to ride with our “fast pass”. We immediately got a bonus fastpass on our smartphone for any ride at any time we chose. Our grandkids used it to ride Space Mountain later in the day after it was back in operation. Lynnda and I picked a different, tamer ride.

At Shale Crescent USA, we cannot create a Disney experience but we can exceed our prospects expectations. At the World Petrochemical Conference (WPC) when Jerry James and Wally Kandel did the Shale Crescent USA lunch presentation to a packed room, there was an energy & excitement rarely experienced at a technical Conference. No one was ready to leave at the end of the presentation. Almost everyone stayed for Q&A to get additional information. Some attendees stayed for over an hour. The point is, your customers or prospects and the audiences we all speak to won’t always remember what we said or what we did but they will always remember how we made them feel.

What about you and your business?  How do you make your prospects and customers feel?  Are you memorable?  Will they want to come back?  Are they willing to pay you extra like Disney?  I love it when one of our prospects says “Wow, we had no idea you could help us like you have.” Or, “We are coming to The Crescent because of the information you provided and what you have done for us.” We know we are creating value.

One of the best ways to create these types of experiences for prospects or customers is through collaboration. Collaboration is working with another individual or group of people to create or produce something. Collaboration is not the leader telling people what to do or how to do something. A good leader knows they are not always the smartest or most experienced individual. They also know a group is smarter and has more expertise than an individual. A smart leader is humble enough to know there is a lot they don’t know.

Collaboration is a creative process. It is about brainstorming and sharing ideas. They are no bad ideas. Some ideas may seem not to make any sense at the time until someone adds something to it. One idea may get someone else in the group to come up with an idea or solution that does work. Collaboration requires trust, creativity, open mindedness, willingness to share and effective communication. If done properly the result is better than any individual could have achieved alone. If you are the leader and want to be involved in the process, I encourage you to be the facilitator and not the idea person. Help your people to work together. Draw out their ideas. Keep them focused and moving forward. Make sure everyone is involved. No idea or individual can be put down or laughed at. You should clarify and confirm where your team is and help to summarize the final result.   

Does collaboration really work? When I do a leadership workshop, one of the teambuilding exercises I do is to have groups build a tower using spaghetti and marshmallows. It is always done exactly the same way so I can compare groups. I have had hundreds of individuals and teams do this exercise in the last 15 years. The tallest tower ever built was by a group of 6 Desk & Derrick Club women in Charleston a number of years ago. They built it so solid that they carried it around the ballroom. I asked, “Who in your group was the leader.” They looked at me in surprise and responded, “WE COLLABORATED.”  

At Shale Crescent USA collaboration is the norm. The Shale Crescent USA pocket marketing booklet we put together for WPC took 3 hours to develop with 5 Shale Crescent team members collaborating. It was a hit at WPC and all the conferences and meetings we have attended since. It gets people’s attention and communicates a simple powerful message. 

I routinely work with Tom Crooks of the Stonewall Group, who is part of our Executive Committee and Nathan Lord our Business Manager on marketing and sales ideas for Shale Crescent USA. The result is always far better than anything I could develop on my own.

None of us is as smart as all of us. As smart as we might be, we don’t know everything. I know that I’m not “the brightest bulb.” If you have a tough problem to solve or want to grow your business take advantage of the smart people in your organization and their collective intelligence. If you are the leader you don’t want to be the answer person or chief problem solver. Be the leader and teach your people to collaborate.

Thoughts to ponder.

© 2019 Shale Crescent USA

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.