I make no secret of the fact that I have looked to Steve Jobs for ideas and inspiration. I found this Fast Company article on the Evolution of Steve Jobs to be fascinating. The discussion of his evolution as a collaborator was terrific.
As he steered Pixar through the many difficult periods that preceded the creation of Toy Story, he nurtured an intelligent, respectful, and effective culture. Catmull was so firmly in charge of the place that he was able to keep Steve from getting too involved in the production, so Jobs watched from a distance as writers and animators worked their way through failed plotlines, poorly conceived characters, and interference from Disney’s then-chief of animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg. After Toy Story, he got to see the team do it again, with A Bug’s Life, and then again and again and again. “Watching our collaboration, where we were making ourselves better by working together, I think that fueled Steve,” says John Lasseter, the director of Toy Story and The Incredibles, who now heads up Disney Animation and Pixar with Catmull. “That was one of the key changes when he went back to Apple. He was willing to be open to the talent of others, to be inspired by and challenged by that talent, but also to inspire them to do amazing things he knew he couldn’t do himself.“
Collaboration is a phenomenal tool. The most experienced people rarely agree on everything and fresh eyes are always needed to challenge conventional thinking. No one person has the breadth of experience and the freshness of view so that their view does not benefit from challenge and the free exchange of competing ideas. How people collaborate, then, is critical, and the highlighted sentence says volumes about the mindset needed for successful collaboration.
At Valorem, we so believe in the power of collaboration that we’ve designed our firm up to foster, indeed, require, it. I think many of the firms around us have embraced models that result in collaboration being an underutilized tool. The benefits of collaboration to clients and firms alike are amazing. Those that do not seek it and clients who do not demand it are missing out on one the most important tools available.