Want to Be a Great Collaborator? Don’t Let This Obstacle Trip You Up.

April 1, 2017

Want to Be a Great Collaborator? Don’t Let This Obstacle Trip You Up.

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending a performance by a terrific musical ensemble, you’ve seen collaboration at its best. These players weren’t competing for your attention. Each was contributing to a cohesive finished product for you to enjoy, just as they’d done for countless rehearsals beforehand.

Achieving this kind of “harmony” isn’t easy, no matter how talented the performers are. In fact, the most skilled players can sometimes be lousy collaborators. Why is this? If you’ve encountered people in your field who have tremendous natural ability or technical skill, you’ve probably recognized the reason. You might have even seen it in yourself …


Ego is an obstacle to collaboration. It can turn a project into a game of personal advancement or of getting one’s way, rather than working together to produce the best product possible. It can prevent you from listening and keeping an open mind. Being great at what you do is obviously a positive, but talent comes with the need to keep your ego in check.

Over our careers as professional musicians, we’ve had opportunities to work with high-profile groups and earn recognition. But when we come together to serve our New House Productions clients, those individual achievements don’t matter. We put them out of our minds and collaborate as equals. This way, we avoid the ego trap that can prevent us from effectively working together.

This type of mindset is just as necessary for you and your business as it is for us. While you may work hard to achieve mastery in your field, you must not let your talents become a liability. Besides, our individual knowledge and skills will only take us so far. As we say often in our New House training sessions: Our success can only be realized with the help of others.

If you want to keep your ego in check and be a great collaborator, we recommend you follow these three tips:

1. Understand that you can learn something from everyone.

Even someone far less experienced than you or someone in a different field can have valuable knowledge to share. The best collaborators know this, so they take the time to ask questions and to listen.

2. Reflect on your shortcomings and how you can improve.

You can graciously accept praise and accolades without letting them cloud your thinking. Great collaborators know they can always be better, so they ask for advice and accept feedback.

3. Don’t be afraid to try new things – and to fail.

The moment you get too concerned about looking bad is the moment you stop getting creative. Don’t let your ego get in the way of an innovative idea that could pay dividends.

New House Productions is a team of musicians, educators and speakers with years of combined experience performing around the world. Using the analogy of a musical ensemble, we provide skills training for organizations with a focus on collaboration. We illustrate our lessons through a live musical performance.
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