10 Ways to Collaborate in a Down Economy

Collaboration is hot once again, but this time for more dire reasons.  People are fighting to keep their jobs and scared of losing their livelihood.  With a down economy, collaborative folks have an advantage.  With each act of collaboration, they add value to themselves and expand their sphere of influence.

Here are 10 ways to collaborate in a down economy:

  1. Prepare more thoroughly for meetings.  This may seem basic (and it is) but too many folks simply show up and forget that they also have to show out.  By reviewing meeting minutes, asking insightful questions and being nice to colleagues, the collaborative guy/gal gets more done via meetings.

  2. Follow up wherever and whenever needed.  Think of all of the areas at home and at work where you can follow up.  The next time you promise to do something ("let me get back to you" or "I'll send you that email contact"), write it down and then process your notes later in the day.

  3. Go the extra mile, especially when it's not expected.  Do the small things that separate you from the average worker.  Make the call, write the note, do the research.  Surprise others with your exemplary customer service.

  4. Reach out to those who are struggling.  Few things are remembered more than when a person reaches out to someone in need.  Attend the funeral, viewing or memorial service.  Aid someone who is having a tough time.

  5. Line yourself up for a hot project.  What new endeavor at work can you be a part of?

  6. (Work) outside the box. You've heard of thinking outside the box?  Now try working outside your own facility by doing freelance work on the side.  This is a great way to stay fresh in your field and earn some extra income.

  7. Social network with people you'll never meet. Experiment with Twitter if you do nothing else in the next year.  David Allen has been on Twitter for nearly two weeks and has 100,000 followers.  That's a wow in my book.

  8. Publish for people you want to meet.  Volunteer to write an article for someone or some organization that you enjoy.  Many articles that I've published have come as a result of me reaching out to the publisher.  Don't wait for someone to discover you- become discovered through your own ingenuity.

  9. Blog because you can.  Blogging expands the creative capacity and gets things off your chest.  Try it out via Wordpress.com or Typepad.com.

  10. Listen empathically when you're tempted to give up. Above all other steps, be a listener. As someone who wants to collaborate, it's critical that you actually care about those around you.  People can spot a phony.  Dig in, get to know those around you and let your listening be a vehicle to care for them on a deeper level.

Photo by Challenge Business