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Collaboration Always Nets More Growth

By Joey Havens

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It’s a beautiful Saturday morning on the Ross Barnett Reservoir and although the crappie bite has been slow, we have a few small fish in our live well. Thump! Oh yeah, I can tell by the bite this is a big fish. Setting the hook with a quick upward thrust of the jig pole, I feel the weight of this fish. Finally, I have a quality fish on. Here he comes to the top wrapped in lily pads. On no, he is hung and if I pull any harder, it will pull the hook out of his mouth. He is literally suspended right above the water. Instantly I’m yelling for help from my favorite crappie fisherman, Bruce. 

“Bruce, grab the net. See if you can slide it under him. If I pull anymore or he flops really hard — he is gone!” Bruce is eerily silent as he grabs the net and stretches full length to slide the net under the lunker. Without a word, we both then pull towards the boat and watch as it lands safely in the net. YEAH! Love it! 

Thanks, Bruce, I would have never landed that crappie without your help!  

Collaboration is a big deal when you are fishing and it’s even bigger in business development and growing a firm or business. 

Collaboration will help us land bigger clients and more clients than if we go it alone. Why do we find ourselves hesitant to collaborate more? There are lots of excuses:

  • Who gets the credit?
  • I can do this myself.
  • Nobody can sell business like me. 
  • It takes too long and I have to move fast.
  • They don’t know the client or customer like I do.
  • I prefer to work alone.
  • It’s hard. 

I really like that last one — it’s hard. I think this might be the real reason we aren’t great collaborators. It is hard, yet it opens up so many benefits and always results in more growth. We enjoy larger clients and more growth when we work together. 

In Smart Collaboration by Heidi Gardner, she documents the business case for collaboration, with four key outcomes. First, collaboration leads to more senior leaders with the client having multiple relationships with the firm. Second, with multiple client servers, client retention and loyalty are stronger. Third, by collaborating, more innovative solutions are brought to the client. Fourth, there’s greater transparency, better risk management and a stronger ownership mindset as it limits the “lone ranger” aspect of many professional service firms. It’s actually a competitive advantage if we can just get past the excuses and stop focusing on ourselves.  

Bruce, why are you putting that big fish in your ice chest? Isn’t that the one I caught?  

“Maybe it is, but I netted him…..” Oh well, at least we had the discussion after we landed the lunker. How are you doing with collaboration on your team?