“Good artists copy, great artists steal.” ~Pablo Picasso

“Imitation is at least 50 percent of the creative process.”  ~Jamie Buckingham

If you are a part of a larger corporation, you have a wealth of tools at your disposal that you may not be aware of: The work of others! A healthy organization shares its knowledge freely across silos for the benefit of all. There is a more than likely chance that whatever you are struggling with, a peer of yours in another division/department has tackled it (or at least tried) before.

“Well Cameron, I don’t work in a healthy company”. And that is fine too, because the organization does not define ALL of the leaders within it. If you are open and collaborative, you can still leverage the help of others. I’ve worked in several dysfunctional companies and have still been able to use the experience, reports, SOPs, and tips of others. To put it bluntly, you and your peers can rise above it, and here are the four steps to get you there:

  • Offer to share first: Odds are you’ll hear about something in a meeting or an e-mail chain that rings a bell with something you have worked on, or are working on, in your department. As the saying goes “be the change you want to see in the world”. Open the door to collaboration by sharing FIRST.
  • Make it painless: If you are asking for assistance, make it as easy as possible. Go out of your way to work on their time frame and utilize your expertise and your resources whenever possible.
  • Always offer to reciprocate: Offer your resources in return, whether they be personnel, know how, etc. There is a good chance the other area has a busy period of the week, month, or quarter, and those should be the times you demand to assist with even if the other team is being polite and says they have it under control.
  • Offer to give them credit (then do it): Quickly and publicly let their superiors and peers know of their assistance to your efforts. And don't just bring it up once, make a not of it and make mention of it down the road as well. This lets everyone know that you remember what was done for you.

Follow the guidelines above and you’ll be able to leverage the experience of others so you
have more time to work on newer and more innovative ways to expand your business (and share with others). What do you have to lose?

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