Despite "collaboration" becoming increasingly accepted and valued in business, there are still those that remain hesitant about sharing information or resources and about working with others. It's still common to hear people say "I have developed a great tool, but I'm afraid that if I share it with anyone, they'll steal my idea."
You must overcome that fear of losing out on the glory and the profit and learn to work with others.
"Having a great idea is only 1% of what it takes to launch your startup," says Wayne Pope, managing director of the online collaboration tool Glasscubes. "The other 99% is execution."
And that execution will likely come from working with others, as chances are you aren't going to create your startup alone. Learning how to collaborate effectively can help you propel your great idea forward in ways that working independently could not possibly achieve.
As you move your great idea into a viable business, you want to reach out and work with people who can provide skills, knowledge and feedback along the way. And you want to work with these people effectively.
How to Collaborate
Even if your founding team is initially comprised of friends, colleagues, and people you know locally, it's likely you will want to implement some sort of online collaborative workplace so that you can all work together - whether it's in an office or remotely and whether it's in real-time or asynchronously.
Communication: Despite the benefits email and instant-messaging have afforded us, they can be unwieldy to track and search. Having a centralized site for communication and for sharing files helps make sure everyone is informed. It's also important to make sure that everyone has a voice in discussions, if not decisions.
Accountability: If you are working with others, be sure to clearly assign tasks and deadlines. This is particularly important in early stages of a startup, when staff is small and people are wearing a number of hats. If you are juggling tasks, it's easy to lose track of your assignment. It's useful therefore to have a tool where tasks can be recorded and follow-through tracked.
Agility: Having an online collaborative tool shouldn't replace regular "check-ins." Daily "scrum" meetings can ensure that you can respond nimbly and that projects and processes move forward.
Technology has facilitated real-time communication, but just because we can easily share information doesn't mean we are necessarily collaborating productively when we do so.
And while finding an online tool is an important first step, collaboration requires more than just finding the right technology. It demands moving beyond the fear of losing control and losing credit so that you can, as we were told as kids, "play well with others."