By Cyndi Pyburn

collaboration [kuh-lab-uhrey-shun n]: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

One of Sklar Wilton & Associates key ingredients, indeed a key asset, is collaboration. We believe in the Power of each one of our 32 employees. We know that 32 heads are better than one and there are many ways to extract the brilliance from each associate.

How to do it? – Effective collaboration requires a major focus on culture.

We demonstrate our collaborative work culture each and every single day. First of all, we hire the best, and we engage and support them to deliver more than expected to grow our clients’ businesses. It is a powerful way to develop a motivated and highly engaged team. P32 is quite simply:

  1. Thinking and brainstorming ideas to provide solutions– This key element brings our team together to offer different perspectives and expertise to solve for common problems. The phrase ‘putting our heads together’ is a good example of this important element of collaboration. We often do this in “10 Minute Terrors” where every person takes 10 minutes to collaborate on something, perhaps a colleague’s new research project or new strategic business facilitation session.
  1. A strong sense of purpose– We see the value in working together. Collaboration is not forced upon someone. Rather, we are encouraged and supported to make time for each other’s requests, both formally and informally. This signals a collaborative culture.
  1. Equal participation– A collaborative manager or leader might say, ‘leave your titles at the door.’ At SW&A, we take this to heart. We treat everyone as equals thereby opening up communication and encouraging ideas from all levels. In this safe environment, each member of the team can generously share thoughts and ideas based on their unique knowledge and skills

As Simon Sinek says, “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.” This notion of trust is at the core of collaboration at Sklar Wilton. Ours is an environment of active, involved, and exploratory learning. Collaboration is energizing and refreshing. The benefits of collaboration are really countless but here are a few key ones:

  • Better thinking and thought leadership
  • Higher expectations and higher achievement
  • Promotes interaction by involving many in developing a solution
  • Moves a problem more effectively towards its solution
  • Allows exploration of alternate problem solutions in a safe environment
  • Stimulates critical thinking and helps clarify ideas through discussion and debate
  • Teaches collaborators how to criticize ideas, not people
  • Enhances self-management skills
  • Builds self-esteem; increases retention; reduces anxiety
  • Enhances satisfaction with the learning experience by promoting a positive attitude toward the subject matter

While collaboration obviously uses a team approach to problem solving, it maintains individual accountability in the best organizations. Sklar Wilton & Associates’ “Power of 32” is testament to the joys and outputs of collaboration. We ARE “Better Together.”

P.S. We’ve outgrown 32 associates but we still love the original name.