You believe what I believe. Now how can we help each other grow?

Have you ever noticed that when you meet someone who believes what you believe that at first it’s love at first sight? ” Oh, they think so much like me..” “Their products are so inline with ours..”  ” Our values are so similar..” It seems only natural to explore how the two of you can work together– until those hopeful promises made never materialize or, if they do, are lack luster and then the relationship all but disappears altogether. Both parties walk away feeling confused by what happened and left to realize they wasted their time or worse feeling a little used.

Why does this happen?

Well for one, sharing requires fierce conversation. After the ‘honeymoon’, the closer your ideas are to the other, the faster you will be pushed into this kind of honest communication in a relationship. And there is nothing wrong with this if everyone understands the rules of engagement.  The most important rule is to establish a positive truth seeking dialogue for the purpose of collaboration- and  not for the sole purpose of illuminating how you are different from each other- which almost always leads to a dead end. The goal is to find and then celebrate where you see eye to eye for the long haul.

The ultimate purpose of this kind of dialogue is to develop a strategic plan that works for both of you to grow in some way together. It has to be balanced. You both have to win. So focus on embracing what you share in common and see if you can find a way to make it work. Exploit your shared ideas to the fullest and figure out if there is something you can do together on a recurring basis- no matter how big or small.  If you can, the organic results it will produce from leveraging the power of your combined association will allow you both to win and do it faster. And it will require compromise and setting your ego aside.

And yes, sometimes one or both sides need to walk away because the collaboration is not right for one or the other at that time. And that’s fine. However I see this happen way too many times simply because one or both sides have refused to set aside miniscule differences and focus on their shared deeply held views. Or because one side is really using the other to gain in some way with no real intention of generously giving back. And sometimes generosity comes down the line- which is WHY you must have a strategic plan so all parties agree on their contribution and when it will occur.

There are many many ways to get to the top of the hill when building an idea or a brand. It takes a lot of effort and time so it’s a plus if you can leverage allies and friends along the way by investing into their initiatives and having them invest into yours. Reciprocity has to be part of your shared plan.

To me this is the power of collaborative consumption.  Forget protecting your turf or trying to prove your idea is bigger.  Let’s find new ways forward to figure out what we can share together so that we can leverage up are our synergies into something far bigger for the benefit of us all.


Collaboration, at the conceptual level, involves:

Awareness – We become part of a working entity with a shared purpose

Motivation – We drive to gain consensus in problem solving or development

Self-synchronization – We decide as individuals when things need to happen

Participation – We participate in collaboration and we expect others to participate

Mediation – We negotiate and we collaborate together and find a middle point

Reciprocity – We share and we expect sharing in return through reciprocity

Reflection – We think and we consider alternatives

Engagement – We proactively engage rather than wait and see

About Lisa Canning

“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.”

Lisa Canning is the founder of IAEOU, the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (IAE) and Entrepreneur the Arts.

What motivates you to explore your creativity? Follow me @IAEOU



You believe what I believe. Now how can we help each other grow?

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