Andrew Dietz is Founder and President of Creative Growth Group, Inc., a business development firm that exclusively helps professional service organizations sharpen growth strategies, enhance client development capabilities, and implement marketing and business development initiatives.

Collaboration and collegiality benefit from a relaxed, open mindset – one in which professionals can reveal a bit of the personal, challenge the status quo and potentially fall on their face.  Bret Tushaus said, “A good portion of my team works in the Philippines.  One of the things that I’ve tried to do is to help immerse each side of the world into our team is make it OK when you start a meeting to ease in and warm up. 

You don’t have to jump right into the agenda and start talking about the problems that you’re trying to solve.  I try to ask questions.  I’ve learned a ton about the culture in the Philippines in Makati and what’s going on and what the weather’s like, just questions like that to get the conversation going.  Granted it’s not quite as collegial as maybe a game of kickball, but it does make you feel closer to these people and I think it does get you more towards that shared purpose and allows you to collaborate much, much better versus just being all business all the time.”  Mike Santoro added, “You need to make it permissible for people to open up and to challenge the status quo.   You’ve got to make collaboration permissible and that starts at the leadership level.”

This post is part of a series recapping the event, Creating Collaborative Advantage: How To Get Fiercely Independent Professionals To Collaborate For The Benefit Of Each Other, Their Firm and Their Clients hosted by SilverEdge, along with its partners Deltek and Creative Growth Group. Stay tuned for more advice from the event.