Why You Need a Collaborative Circle… (By me and 21 of the greatest, most successful, most recognized minds ever…)

The other day I shared seven reasons why you should have a collaborative circle surrounding you and your business.

Today I thought I’d have a little fun with that…

I thought I’d write a post and invite 21 of some of the most famous and successful thinkers, entrepreneurs and people from all walks of life to share with me.

To talk about the powerful benefits a collaborative circle can provide. And why you need one.

So let’s start by asking the eternal question…

What’s In One For YOU?

Number one, you always come away richer for the being part of one. Because sharing inside a collaborative circle is not a zero-sum game.

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

– George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright and critic

Inside of that, collaboration can give you access to take on bigger, more ambitious projects than you ever dreamed you could take on before…

Training often gives people solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.

– Marcia Conner, author The New Social Learning

And quite possibly most important, when the going gets tough – and it will at some point in your business – your collaborative circle may actually be the one thing that keeps you in business…

It is the long history of humankind those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

– Charles Darwin, British naturalist and geologist

So what makes a good collaborative circle so powerful and effective?

It’s All About Ideas and Perspective

When it comes to “connecting the dots”, your collaborative circle can be an unlimited source of dots you can connect…

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

– Steve Jobs, entrepreneur, innovator, CEO Apple

And it can let others in your group, with different perspectives, actually connect dots for you…

Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.

– Steve Jobs, entrepreneur, innovator, CEO Apple

And this is critical, because leveraging “idea capital” is what makes your success potential virtually unlimited…

Capital isn’t so important in business. Experience isn’t so important. You can get both these things. What is important is ideas. If you have ideas, you have the main asset you need, and there isn’t any limit to what you can do with your business and your life.

– Harvey Firestone, founder Firestone Tire and Rubber Co.

And if you’re worried about your ideas getting stolen, don’t…

Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.

– Howard Aiken, American physicist, pioneer in computing

Plus, They Get You Thinking Better…

One of the most powerful effects your collaborative circle will have is to get (and keep) you thinking clearly.

First, they can challenge your assumptions. Face it, if you’re going to get the right answers, you’ve got to be asking the right questions first…

The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.

– Antony Jay, British writer, broadcaster and director

They can also create important shifts in the way you think. They get your brain out of the “I” mode that so many entrepreneurs get stuck in…

The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I.’ And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I.’ They don’t think ‘I.’ They think ‘we’; they think ‘team.’

– Peter Drucker, Godfather of American management

And they’ll help you keep your mind in the “open mode” (which is critical)…

We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people, unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don’t waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the ‘closed’ mode. But the moment the action is over, try to return to the ‘open’ mode—to open your mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to tell whether the action has been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. We must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent.

– John Cleese, British actor, comedian, writer and lecturer

Then There’s That Whole Karma Thing…

Whether you want to believe it or not, Karma is real. It may seem inexplicable…

The miracle is this: The more we share the more we have.

– Leonard Nimoy, actor, director, author

But the idea of sharing to receive is grounded in reality…

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.

– Napoleon Hill, author, personal-success pioneer

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

– Zig Ziglar, author, salesman extraordinaire, motivational speaker

Of course if you want to explain it in hard core scientific terms…

If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.

– Isaac Newton, physicist, mathematician

So What Makes A Successful Collaborative Circle?

Well, balance within your group is pretty critical…

My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts.

– Steve Jobs, entrepreneur, innovator, CEO Apple

With the right balance you’ll come out ahead even when you feel like you have to compromise your own ideas…

Being in a band is always a compromise. Provided that the balance is good, what you lose in compromise, you gain by collaboration.

– Mike Rutherford, musician Genesis – Mike and the Mechanics

And while balance is important, variety is key too. Having members with a wide array of talents and skills you can share into and build on gives you access to important resources you don’t have…

I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.

– Mother Teresa, religious sister, missionary

Politeness is the poison of collaboration

– Edwin Land, cofounder of the Polaroid Corporation

Not that you want to be rude. You just want to be honest and direct. Laser focused. “Here’s why your idea sucks! And here’s my experience in the area.”

Why You Need To Find One Now

So by now you should be able to see the benefits of getting yourself into a great collaborative circle.

It will motivate you and make you unstoppable…

Entrepreneurs have a natural inclination to go it alone. While this do-it-yourself spirit can help you move forward, adding an element of collaboration into the mix can make you unstoppable.

– Leah Busque, entrepreneur, founder TaskRabbit

It will raise your levels of performance, success and wealth simply by being a part of it…

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

– Jim Rohn, entrepreneur, author, motivational speaker

(And just consider what that means if you perpetually work alone…)

“If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”

– Anonymous, famous unknown and often quoted philosopher)

The bottom line on collaboration is…

“It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

– Andrew Carnegie, Scottish American Industrialist


Listen, if you’ve been going it alone in your business so far, a true collaborative circle will break you free of whatever has been holding you back. You’ll see changes in your business occurring faster than you ever thought possible. You’ll get new insights, new possibilities for action and achieve all kinds of new levels of success.

Find a group you can get into (or create your own!) and discover what collaboration can do for your business.

“Tweet-ables” to share:

What Steve Jobs, Mother Teresa and Charles Darwin know about collaboration that you don’t >> via @richschefren (Tweet this!)

“If you’re the smartest person in the room…” >> via @richschefren (Tweet this!)

Why You Need a Collaborative Circle. (By me and 21 of the greatest, most successful, most recognized minds ever…) >> via @richschefren (Tweet this!)