brain hands her a bouquet of roses to a heartCollaboration is a relative term. Lots of people work together, but that doesn’t mean that they are working collaboratively. When a group works in true collaboration by agreeing that the potential outcome outweighs any one person’s opinion, then sparks of potential ignite.

People can work together for years and never successfully collaborate. Without guiding principles, mutual trust and commitment to achieving a shared goal, collaboration can be painfully difficult. If folks don’t play well with others, they may as well pick up their “ball of collaboration” and go home. Collaboration is successful when a culture of trust and openheartedness is first in place.

True collaboration happens when everyone keeps an open mind and an open heart. And when that occurs, ideas are sparked and great work is achieved. Here’s what trust and open-heartedness (or playing well with others) looks like:Openhearted

Through trust and open-heartedness, collaborators feel comfortable, letting ideas fly so fast that sparks fly. And that electric energy motivates even better ideas to flow. As epiphanies and outcomes are celebrated, praise is shared for each others contributions that continually improved the result. Discussion is no longer about who had the best or most popular idea, but about how great the idea became through everyone’s participation.

With an agreement to play well with others, collaboration can be effective, efficient and even inspiring. When you trust your team with your ideas and they trust you with theirs, and you can work together to make them better – just imagine your shared potential.

This short and sweet blog may seem simplistic to some, because it is simple: trust and open-heartedness make collaboration a positive, successful process — ego makes collaboration almost impossible.

Because without an open mind and an open heart, it’s impossible to play well with others.

Empowering change agent, Maureen “Mo” Douglas delivers powerfully positive public, workplace and leadership engagement. Click here for Mo’s FREE e-Guide to Better Public Engagement. Follow her on Twitter.