Sharing and Collaboration

Parents often instill in their kids – sharing … “Max, share your toys with Cooper.” Yet somehow this common sense mentality dwindles as we get older – especially in the professional sense.

One of the greatest assets of the emergence of social media is a new wave of sharing and collaboration. But yet this core value is illusive to so many professionals in the business world.

In some cases it is a generational thing. Millennials were born into the world with the computers and the Internet and by the time they reached the professional ranks, they are extremely comfortable with social technologies and the nature of sharing and collaboration. But I would not just make this simple generational separation.

I am a couple decades away from being a millennial and I see a justified business case for social media, sharing, and collaboration.

About a year ago when I was doing marketing and social media consulting, someone I was working with on a potential partnership looked at what I was doing with my blog, presenting at conferences, social outreach, and general networking. He felt that the information I was giving away for free (writing about and presenting in open forums) was a package that should be paid for. My position was that social media was something new, not well understood, and needed to be unveiled and explained. This was my rationalization, but there was something even more important than that. I learned so much in return from others and was presented with opportunities that came back ten-fold to me. This is a business case for sharing!

We must learn to share. Tony Hsieh does a nice job describing his business case justification for sharing in his book, “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose.” (Highly recommend reading … if you want to see a little bit more on this, check out my review.)

The next step after sharing is collaboration. Are you part of a collaborative culture? Do you want to be part of a great company? In today’s world, the two can not be separated – collaboration and a great company. Great companies collaborate – internally and externally. The degree of collaboration often distinguishes good companies from great companies.

Social media is an excellent tool for collaboration whether collaboration is used internally as a share-knowledge portal, or if it is used to engage with people with similar interests and expertise outside your company. Setting up an internal social network in the workplace is worth considering as a tool for bringing a company together to share knowledge and meanderings from an informal perspective. Yes, I know from my work in social media – a community does not decide it is a community, until the community, decides it is a community. (Got that?) A tool can not change culture, but it may be a small piece of the “change management” to help evolve your culture.

From an external perspective: today, I work for Hachette Filipacchi Media, but I continue to share experiences outward in social media channels. Yes, I enjoy evangelizing practices and benefits of social media. I do not give away proprietary information, but I do share stuff others get paid for via consulting. Sharing is important … it has led to collaborative endeavors and has helped me in my work at HFM.

Until you learn to collaborate, every opportunity to leverage talent, experience, ambition, etc. will keep you from moving from a good company to a great company. (Do you want to work at a great company?)

So I’ll ask two questions to answer for yourself:

1) What are you doing to make sure you have a collaborative environment?
2) Do you want to work at a great company?

Share It! Make It Happen!
“Social Steve”

PS – Want more on sharing and collaboration for your company? Check out “How Social Media Has Prepared Us for Collaborative Business.”



Filed under change management, social media, Social Steve, socialmedia, SocialSteve

9 responses to “Sharing and Collaboration

  1. Thanks for sharing! Very Informative!

  2. Hi Steve, I have been following you for some time, but this is my first time to comment. Thanks for share with those of us who are eager to learn…but doing so on our own dime.

    James Snider

  3. (AKA LeaderHuntress)– Hi Steve. Good thinking. Right thinking. The Buddhists say — if you do the right work, it all falls into place. And you are doing it. My dear friend Tony Staffieri– who was one of the first publicists I met when I was a journalist, taught me a similar lesson before social media was born (during dinosaurs and printed magazines) about sharing. I was afraid to reveal my ideas. Someone would “steal” them. He said– “If you’re really creative, there are 20 more where that one came from just waiting to pop.” So I stopped worrying and shared. And that’s what you’re saying about collaboration. The famous healer (psychic healer, intellectual, whatever) Carolyn Myss did a session on generosity. She talked about how angry become when someone else gets a promotion or if one of our friends gets something that we want. If only we could learn to be happy for others and the ideas of others. Social media does this.
    Share what you know and at the same time, spend some moments silent, listening, watching, reading and observing — and then concluding. Then you will become a thinker. A great Thought Leader. And a smart team player. Steve, as you pointed out about my entry the other day, cool. You are very cool.

    P.S.Why are so many Millenniels named Max?

    • Melissa – great comments and thanks for sharing your experience. I would just add that while I totally agree with what you said, there is a business case for sharing and collaboration for those that do not side on Buddhists teachings and good karma philosophy.

      Social Steve

      • Re the Buddhist thing: A very funny podcast called “The Bad Buddhist” boils down teachings of the Buddhist path to our everyday life. Karma boils down to CAUSE and EFFECT.

        Being generous and sharing will bring about the effect of best practices for everyone involved.

        Since I live in “promotion world”– and have a collection of wonderful venue, people and things for all of us, I’ll be happy to put together a SocialSteve Jellyfest if you’d like come fall.

        LeaderHuntress-Melissa Lande

  4. From across the Pond I’d say I wholeheartedly agree with your blog Steve – here in little old Shropshire we have a very large and active small business community and since I’ve started organising Jelly events (A US creation in 1996 by 2 NY freelancers – free co-working events where you bring your laptop and work all day at a free venue) I’ve seen the true value of sharing ideas, talking to peers and collaborating. I’ve seen great collaborative projects come out of people meeting at Jelly and I think for a lot of small businesses in the future it will be the only sensible way to survive long-term. The use of twitter especially for promoting Jelly events and getting attendees at Jelly events around the UK to meet virtually as well has been incredibly powerful and thought-provoking.

    I admit when I left the corporate world behind it took me a long time to drop the barriers I had towards what I perceived as ‘competitors’ to my business, now I embrace them and have got more work, kept more up to date with industry issues and generally feel a better human being for it – larger businesses I think could learn a lot from adopting a similar attitude – there is more than enough work to go around so share ideas and projects and who knows where it will lead!

    I vote for Jelly days for corporates to come together in a neutral work environment and just see what happens…..I can’t help feeling the corporate world would be a nicer place to be!


    p.s. more info on Jelly here

    • Jan – thanks so much!

      All – Jan made these comments on a LinkedIn group with both belong to in response to a post there. I asked her to put her comments here on the blog so they could be shared with a wider audience. I think she makes some excellents points and I was never aware of the “Jelly” approach. I love it and glad she shared here.

      Social Steve

  5. OK so who wants to start Jelly groups? I do events… maybe I can find some cool venues…

  6. James Jefferson

    Steve I like your insights. This is great for promoting forward thinking business practices. I agree with you that sharing information that is helpful to others does lead to new relationships where all concerned can sometimes achieve much more than the sum of their parts. I also like that this behaviour promotes a culture of togetherness and promotes enthusiasm, important elements of successful working relationships in my view. Doesn’t always work, but it is at the very least a great way of doing business, and it’s fun.

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