The Ultimate Olympic Sport

Creative Collaboration

This week all eyes are on the Olympic games, where you can watch the joys and sorrows of years of hard work unfold.  What we don’t hear or see much of are the teams behind those winning athletes. Those who sacrifice hours to train, feed, clothe, massage, buoy, and enlighten.

The games are inspiring, and inspiration is something you should never waste. You may not be a world-class Olympian, but you can still apply some of that transferred enthusiasm to your own Creative Genius world.

As you collaborate behind the scenes with your colleagues, friends, family or team, work to bring out the very best in everyone. This week I have a couple of longtime collaborators in town and we’re working on a new idea. It’s been a complete blast and I wanted to share their thoughts on what makes for a great creative collaboration:

1.  The Best Idea Wins.

The three of us have worked together off and on for many years. We’ve got a few runaway hits and a few flops under our belts (And both have been equally valuable.) When we work together the best idea always wins.  When no one becomes attached to an idea you can easily morph and flow. Invite your team to get their ego out of the way, let the ideas flow and develop without censorship. That said, when we have fully developed something, we do circle back to give credit to where the jewel of the idea came from. That acknowledgment just helps everyone feel good!

2.  Let Your Enthusiasm Build.

Coming up with new material is the messy part of the work; there are moments when the excitement and ideas come fast and furiously. An idea may start off just as a thought “Maybe she has just lost her….” one of us might suggest, then as the idea builds everyone gets so excited we start shouting over each other sometimes to the point where one person will get up to illustrate it by acting it out. Allow yourselves to get excited, get loud, and be expressive. Encourage this by bringing fun things to play with into the room. If one of us is quiet, it’s generally because she is working an idea in her head. We’ll often ask, “What do you think?”  Share the play space. The best ideas often come from silence too.

3.  When You Are Stuck, Leave It.

Sometimes we can work for three hours straight through. Often we work for 2 and then take a lunch break. But whenever we get stuck, we don’t try to force our way through it, we simply say, “Let’s go do something else” and then take a walk, go eat something, or break for the day.  For us, stopping when we want to keeps us fresh and excited to return to our project.

Think about your team, how often do you build real breaks into the workflow – not just 15 minutes where people continue to work via email?  Great ideas come from a balance of hard work and reflection. And really, you already know all about this, right? How many times has inspiration struck you in the shower? Or in that place between sleep and waking? We give ourselves space to create when we allow our minds to wander freely.

Collaboration is so dang fun – when you let it be. Why not make it an Olympic Sport? Find ways to inspire yourself and your team during these summer games and see what #creativegenius brilliance emerges.

Love, peace, and creative genius thoughts to you all!


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