Lessons in Successful Collaboration from Non-Profit and Corporate Teams, with Aria Finger, Episode #1

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In this first season of the podcast, I want to highlight what can happen in a team or business partnership when successful collaboration is the norm. There’s nobody I’d rather learn from when it comes to effective collaboration than Aria Finger. Aria is CEO of both DoSomething.org and The TMI Agency. With over a decade of experience motivating young people to take action through Do Something, and her role as CEO at TMI - an agency that helps companies understand those young people and reach out to them for greater brand success - she’s got the kind of experience fostering great collaboration that I wanted to feature in this first episode. Take the time to listen. You won’t be disappointed.

Trust and respect are at the heart of every successful collaboration.

Collaboration is one of those things that can sound exciting and attractive, and when it’s done effectively it certainly is. But we have to be honest with ourselves by admitting that it’s also lots of hard work. That’s because collaboration is about relationships with people. At the heart of every successful relationship are trust and respect - and collaboration requires them as well. How can you work toward greater trust and respect within your teams? How can you build trust and respect with vendors and service providers? My guest, Aria Finger has wonderful things to share with you about those situations and more, so be sure you take the time to listen to this episode of Masters of Leadership.

Are there ways to avoid the silos that happen between departments within organizations?

Collaboration in a team environment is about getting everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction harmoniously, and with passion for the desired outcome. But that kind of momentum is hard to build when the organization is divided into silos structurally - marketing, sales, production, shipping, human resources, etc. What can you do to break apart the silos and foster a culture of ongoing collaboration? Aria Finger tells how the teams at Do Something and TMI have adopted practical approaches to things like desk assignments that place team members directly in the path of those working in other areas of specialization within the organization. Here insights into the benefits those practices have produced are powerful and are worth sharing!

Digital communication can foster successful collaboration - but can’t replace face to face.

During this conversation with Aria Finger, I specifically asked how her team uses digital communication tools to collaborate on projects. Her enthusiasm for Slack was obvious and she explained how her team uses it to foster collaboration internally. But she was also quick to point out that no amount of messaging can make up for a face to face conversation when it’s really needed. Tense situations, ongoing miscommunication, or frustration need to be addressed with a walk down the hall or a phone call, not keystrokes on a keyboard. Aria does a great job making the distinction and pointing out the benefits of taking that approach so don’t miss what she has to share.

A vital element of any successful collaboration is genuine feedback.

Collaboration is not only about getting things done more effectively, it’s about bringing out the best in every person who’s working on the project. As everyone brings their unique gifts to the table a sum greater than the parts is the result. But that requires that everyone involved is given the gift of feedback about their contributions. During my conversation with Aria Finger on this episode of Masters of Leadership, she said, “None of us can get better unless we are receiving real, trustworthy, and critical feedback.” I entirely agree. You can hear how she suggests you go about soliciting feedback that meets those criteria and how to make the best use of it by listening to this episode.

Outline of This Episode
  • [1:22] Who is Aria Finger?
  • [2:05] What does collaboration mean to Aria and what does it look like at Do Something?
  • [6:00] Virtual communication at Do Something: Slack as a collaboration tool.
  • [9:33] What is similar or different between collaboration in a non-profit VS corporate?
  • [11:20] Aria’s advice to corporate leaders seeking to build a collaborative culture.
  • [15:09] Questions leaders need to be asking to build effective collaboration these days.
  • [18:34] Tips from Aria about the path toward more effective collaboration.
Resources & People Mentioned Connect With Erica

15 episodes available. A new episode about every 8 days averaging 24 mins duration .