4 Tips For Successful Creative Collaboration

Topics: Branding, Business, Careers, Creative, Culture, Events, Ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Leadership, Marketing, Motivation, Strategy By: Dina Gachman

Finding the right collaborators is about as difficult, frustrating, and exhilarating as finding the love of your life.  And just as important. You wouldn’t want to jump into bed with just anybody, literally or metaphorically, so it’s important to first find someone you can trust and respect.

Don’t be fooled by chiseled abs or a killer smile either – even your closest friend from childhood could be your worst nightmare when it comes to business or creative collaboration. Starting a brand and building a business with someone else is its own very special type of interaction, so choose wisely, hang onto your hat, and check out these tips for a successful collaboration  – if each day ends with you wanting to strangle each other, you might need to rethink your methods. It’s never easy, but it should be fulfilling!

  1. Choose Wisely:

    As we said, just because you and your best friend both love Jenga and Skinny Girl Margaritas does not mean you’ll be great business partners. Maybe you will – that’s for each person to decide and you really don’t know until you jump into the trenches together. But just make sure your work ethic, style, and temperaments compliment each other. That doesn’t mean your style should be the same – in fact, it may be best if you’re different yet complimentary. Like blue and orange on the color wheel, or Laverne and Shirley on TV.

  2. Get It In Writing:

    Talking about money or contracts is really never fun, and it may seem painful to even broach the subject with a partner, especially if you are friends. Don’t wait until Facebook comes knocking and offers to buy you out to sign some sort of agreement. You saw The Social Network – you know what can happen when friends let friends get ahead without a contract. Even though it seems awkward and stressful, get the contract and money talk out of the way right at the start, so you can move ahead confidently.

  3. Communicate:

    Don’t wait until you are so frustrated and angry about an issue that you start hurling staplers and pens at your partner to communicate your feelings. Whether you and your partner sit right next to each other or talk via email or text, make sure you are honest and open without being hostile. It’s really up to you to find what works best. If you’ve seen the documentary The Pixar Story you know that they created an environment where communication was key – they even deliberately placed the bathrooms so that employees from different divisions would be forced to interact and communicate. In business and creativity, communication is king.

  4. Listen:

    Just like romantic relationships, partners have to step outside themselves and really listen to what the other person is saying. This doesn’t include “pretend listening” where you nod and tense your fists while the other person talks about an idea you may not like until their speech is over and you get a chance to rebut. This means really hearing them, considering it before you start the staple throwing, and taking some time with it. One of the joys of creative and business collaborations is when partners can bring out the best in each other and better each other’s ideas and work. Be open, honest, and fair, and if you do step on each other’s toes remember those simple words: ‘”I’m sorry.” They work wonders.

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