Sibongiseni Mbatha’s Top Collaboration Techniques To Grow Your Business

Sibongiseni Mbatha’s Top Collaboration Techniques To Grow Your Business

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Sibongiseni Mbatha

People, businesses, economies and even countries don’t exist in isolation

Through my years of service to ABSIP I’ve become increasingly aware of this. We’re not going to wake up tomorrow with a healthy, well-run country and economy without involving ourselves in building them up.

People are the fabric of everything. How we behave cascades into the overall success of a society.

Don’t focus on competition — focus on collaboration

The business environment is obviously competitive, but we need to also look beyond that to our collective goals. If everyone jealously guards their places in business and society, we can never grow.

ABSIP encourages experienced professionals in our sector to mentor young professionals. Young professionals are asked to mentor students.

You could say they are mentoring people who could one day come and take their place, but that’s a good thing. Ultimately, we want to grow our sector, and that means sharing knowledge and expertise.

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In a growing economy, sector or company, there is an opportunity for everyone to participate

Teach the next person how to do your work — that’s not competition, it’s enterprise and people development. If you can, become a mentor or coach. If you’re still starting out, find a mentor. Focus on your personal development and then share the lessons you’ve learnt. The more you give, the more you’ll receive.

Growth is an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ situation

Growing companies need the skills of everyone to achieve success. Anything can be achieved with a motivated, skilled workforce willing to put their shoulders to the wheel and work, but sharing skills and experiences is as important as hard work.

Working collaboratively isn’t a threat. It requires you to look at everything from a growth perspective though.

Focus on the end game, and what you can achieve together.

Real growth comes when you focus on creating a bigger cake

We see this everywhere, locally and internationally. People and businesses fight over resources, clients and territories, instead of working together to build a bigger cake. In order to truly transform, there has to be a growing economic cake.

You can’t transform what isn’t growing — you just end up taking from one to give to another — that’s just moving things around. It’s a short-term solution. Don’t shift the problem — take ownership, deal with it and work together for a greater, inclusive goal. 

You can disagree with others, but do so with respect

One of ABSIP’s key roles is at the negotiation table. When we represent our members at the FSC Council, which includes banks, insurance companies, savings and investments firms, everyone comes with a mandate from their membership.

It’s not possible that only your mandate will see the light of day. It’s important to find accommodations for everyone. You can compromise if all else fails, but consensus is better, and to truly achieve consensus, you have to approach all negotiations from a place of respect.

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Everything in life and business is a negotiation

That’s just a simple truth. Remember also that people process ideas and data to get to a particular position. When you’re at the negotiation table, don’t just push your view — use it as a way to gather new data.

To this day this is still the best advice I’ve ever received. If your goal is consensus and a solution, you need to listen to what other people think, feel and believe.

When you really believe in something, you will always find time for it

My full-time job is with the IDC, so ABSIP gets my attention after hours and on weekends. That takes sacrifices. I spend my personal and family time working on the organisation’s goals and mandates. This is also a collaborative effort, because I need my family’s understanding and support.

Nadine Todd
Nadine Todd is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Magazine, the How-To guide for growing businesses. Find her on Google+.