I have experienced a couple of things recently which I wanted to share as they get me questioning whether there is a pattern of fear being generated around collaborating.
Firstly, I was enjoying a morning tea in a well established high street coffee shop and needed to use the loo, nothing strange there; I approached the toilet only to find they had a coded lock on their toilet door to stop you entering! Why?
What assumptions are they making about their clientele?
I proceeded to get the code from a member of their service team, she seemed unhappy; it transpired she also seemed to think this was madness.
What was going on for her that she colluded with this madness? I realised there may be a protective and controlling quality in this business which I didn’t warm too.
Secondly, within the same week I was in a business meeting with a supplier, we have a good and open relationship. At the end of a great meeting they shared that they had "just one more thing" they wanted to run by me. Obviously curious I asked them to go ahead. It turned out they wanted to ask my permission to take on a further client who is in a similar field to ours.
"…of course I want you to take on new business, what has made you bring it up?"
I am guessing, as readers, many of you know why it was being raised. It seems many companies are crippling the smaller ones by asking them to sign exclusivity contracts and my supplier wanted to check we weren’t one of them. We’re not. Simply another example of a protective and controlling practice.
I notice many other examples I could share…. Networking meetings where only one profession is welcomed in the room; Individuals who think it’s safer to take their idea out of the meeting and discuss it "offline"; Leaders who won’t delegate as it might not be done exactly as they would do it….
What are people in business so frightened of?
Don’t get me wrong I know bad things happen (even my idealism can only go so far) yet just notice that if you set up your stall in anticipation of impending threat then that’s what you just might attract.
Let’s consider a different way….
If we are grounded enough in what we believe and what we are doing then we can enjoy and learn from the fruits of others, not be threatened by them.
p.s. if competition frightens you then why are you in business at all?
If we can make positive assumptions about people around us we will see their potential, not assume bad intent.
If we can relate to others in a compassionate, curious and open way they are likely to reciprocate. Where they don’t we can be courageous enough to ask for something different. (You might be surprised at the positive response you may get, humans hunger for positive social interaction after all).
We know that by investing the time to collaborate in service of a better future we can create great outcomes.
Where do you see protective tendencies in your business? If you can shift to a mindset full of opportunity and find potential in others, imagine how different it could be.
We’d love to hear from you, it’s not just us noticing some madness is it?
By Joanna Smith, Director – www.elevateassociates.co.uk