It’s hard to believe that Robert Van Winkle (AKA Vanilla Ice) gave us such sage advice back in 1989. OK, maybe his opening line is the only nugget of wisdom in the lyrics of “Ice Ice Baby” – but following its wisdom can naturally lead to more trusting, and ultimately more fruitful, partnerships.Stop
While we all like to think of ourselves as experts in our respective fields, at some point we’ve got to accept the fact that there are others who know more than we do. And that is perfectly fine! Checking our egos at the door opens numerous possibilities that may never have existed had we acted alone. It’s human nature to value our own knowledge highly and simply barrel ahead, but sometimes we need to stop and think to find what we might be missing from others. This is our opportunity to collaborate.
Collaboration happens when two or more people or organizations work together to complete a task. This works best when the parties set the goal together, as partners. Clearly defined roles and expectations for everyone involved in a collaborative effort not only makes the process easier, but greatly increases the odds of success.
Hearing is a physical ability, but listening is a skill. Bernard Baruch, presidential advisor to both Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, once stated, “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” How many people do you know that you would consider a great listener? I bet it’s not nearly as many as you know who can talk your ear off. Isn’t it much easier to find trust in a listener than a talker? Practice your listening skills. Maintain eye contact and repeat what the speaker has said to show that you’ve heard them.
Regardless of your role, establishing trust is critical in partnership. In my work as an account executive for an AR finance product, I work daily with financial institutions, helping them connect with and fund businesses in need of working capital. It’s only after gaining the trust of everyone involved, from loan processing to lending to C-level executives, that our partnership really begins to blossom. Stopping to listen lets account executives like myself move from being a vendor to being a trusted advisor who facilitates strong, healthy relationships with customers, both internal as well as external. Once trust is established and goals are aligned, opportunities begin to flourish for all.
That’s why it’s so important to establish trust in partnership. Because without it, your collaborations will, at best, be one-hit wonders.