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Sometimes it’s OK to say No to Collaboration

Businesses talk at great length about the power and benefits of collaborating. But as we’ve discussed, achieving beneficial collaboration isn’t always that easy. In certain situations, it may even make sense to turn down a collaboration. I know it may seem counter intuitive, but sometimes collaborating with others can actually slow a project down and make you and your team less productive. But when does it make sense to pull the plug on a collaboration? How do you know if it’s not going to work? Well today I’m going to cover some scenarios to help you realize it may make sense to say no to collaboration.

We spend a lot of time talking about tips to help teams collaborate better, or how to successfully implement collaboration tools. However, sometimes despite our best intentions a collaboration is not meant to be. Today, it’s equally as important to have a toolkit to help teams successfully collaborate as it is to know when a collaboration is not going to work. So, here are three scenarios where it’s better to not collaborate.

When Ideas Don’t Jive

One of the many reasons to collaborate is to help introduce your ideas or business to a new audience. When deciding if a collaboration is worth it, it’s important to make sure that there’s some ideological overlap between the two groups. For example, say you are addressed by the best professional blogger in the world. They want to collaborate with you, however what he or she likes to write about doesn’t quite mesh with your blog and audience. Despite their awesome skill set, it will not be a fun and more importantly, a fruitful partnership. The best collaborative relationships occur when the two parties complement each other. For example, a vintage clothing blog and a blog that features vintage furniture and flea markets would be an excellent match.

When You’re Not Excited About It

Not every project is going to get you super excited. When it comes to collaborating with others, enthusiasm, drive, and determination are all contagious. When you have these elements not only is a project fun, but also the results are spectacular. However, just as enthusiasm and drive are contagious so is negativity – unfortunately it swings both ways. If you aren’t super excited about who or what you are collaborating with, then you can easily and unintentionally take a good team and lead them down a negativity spiral. This does no one any good. So, before you agree to collaborate be cautious. Sometimes if the project doesn’t inspire you, it may be better to count yourself out. Others may not understand it, but you’ll know that you’re doing them all a huge favor.

When You Don’t Have The Time

Let’s face it, collaboration takes time and resources. From organizing team meetings to staying on top of “to-dos”, if a collaboration is going to work, it requires a significant amount of take time and resources. If you are unable to dedicate enough time and resources towards your collaboration, it’s not worth it. Instead of producing great results, you’ll be seen as a free rider by others. This can alienate you from your fellow collaborators and can make life difficult for you in the long run. So no matter how cool the project may seem or excited you are about it, be sure to think through your commitment and if you feel like it may require too much time then hold off.

Collaboration is a double edged sword. It can yield some truly amazing results, or it can cause some major headaches and not be worth it. Just as it’s important to know how to collaborate, it’s equally important to know when it won’t work out. I hope that some of these simple situations help you think about when it may or may not make sense to collaborate.

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