Robin: "Gosh, Batman, is there anything you don't know?"
Batman: "Oh yes, Robin. Several things, in fact."
There is a reason sayings like “two are better than one” have become cliches. They are true. Think about the great manifestations of creativity we enjoy every day. The majority of them are actually the result of a team working together. I know of no Oscar winning films that were made without a team. I know of no great companies or products that were not the result of teamwork. Bottom line: teams are important.
In our individualistic culture we tend to idolize the power of one and the magnificent feats achieved by amazing individuals like Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods. The problem with aspiring to be like these people is that quite frankly you probably never will be anything like them. We have so many self help books that kiss your butt and tell you that you can be an amazing person. While that's true for some, more than likely you will not be the next LeBron James. So what? You have been given seeds to be great in your own right. You might not change the world, but you could very well change your own world.
So, how do you find a team? I have no magical formula or mystical answer. Forming a proper team can be somewhat difficult, but definitely possible and worth the headache. There are thousands of people out there, just like you, desperately wanting to create something worthwhile. For me personally, I am friends with a group of guys that I run ideas by all the time. I met them years ago in business school and utilize them to this day. In fact, I would say the greatest benefit I gleaned from business school was not any particular academic knowledge, but rather the interesting people I met with whom I was able to form long term friendships. My first little business I attempted was the result of working together with a classmate. Now, I'm not suggesting you spend thousands of dollars to go to business school to make friends. That's not very cost effective, but you will have to do some work.
My greatest opportunities for teamwork have rarely happened by chance. For me personally, I have three particular areas that I focus on in my life: business, acting, and missionary work. All three of these things are my passions and the places I direct the majority of my energy to. For all three of these areas of my life, I have strategic relationships that help me not only be more creative, but help me to accomplish my goals.
Concerning business, I have an important group of people I met in business school that I use to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of concerning entrepreneurial endeavors. I also have a smaller group at work that works together to accomplish goals specific to my day job.
Concerning acting, I take a weekly acting class with a veteran in the acting field. Not only am I constantly being challenged by her, but the class is filled with many different interesting people who help me be more creative. Further, meeting these like minded people in this setting has afforded me many excellent relationships and opportunities to creatively collaborate on different projects.
Concerning missionary work, I went to a Bible College and go to church to continually expand and sharpen my understanding of the Bible. I have traveled extensively and have a network of relationships all over the world. These relationships have taken time to develop, but are well worth it.
Ok, let's talk a bit about brainstorming. Once you have your team in place you will have to figure out a way to effectively facilitate the quick exchange of ideas. I have done everything from meeting at Starbucks to using Google Docs. Choose whatever is best for your team.
In regard to your team, it is very important to be a part of a group of people that are humble and non-judgmental. It is better to work alone than to share ideas with arrogant people who will put you down. You do not have time for negative people. I am friendly to most everyone, but I do not allow negative people to have close proximity to me nor do I share ideas, goals or plans with them.
During your brainstorming and exchanging of ideas it is of the utmost importance to never be judgmental of other people's ideas and to never pre-judge your own idea. It is true that when you are engaged in the free flow of ideas, some ridiculous things are bound to come up, but those ridiculous ideas could spark a revolutionary idea in someone else. And when I say don't pre-judge, I mean don't pre-judge. If a giant, pink elephant with wings pops into your head, throw it out there. You never know what that will spark in someone else. The Ad Agency that came up with Chick-Fil-A's “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign surely did not prejudge ideas. Cows encouraging people to eat chicken is pretty crazy. Crazy, but effective.
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