IT’S THE SMALL THINGS’
By ALEX M. EDUQUE
Lately, I have received many private messages on my social media accounts from avid and active followers who are also some of the most loyal patrons of the various products that have come from the multiple partnerships and collaborations I have forged through the years. Though I have not met most (if not all) of them in person, I feel like I have established quite a relationship with them on social media. While I try to keep my accounts as private as I possibly can, I do cherish those strangers who I have allowed a glimpse into my life because of the positive vibes they always give. These are the well-meaning souls and kind individuals who always reach out every time I launch a new partnership. They are some of the first to volunteer when I make a call out for MovEd, and they are the ones who do not fail to inquire and purchase the fruits of my various projects. Recently, a number of them have sent me messages asking how I choose my collaborations, and which ones to agree to. I thought about it quite intently and realized I had no short specific enough answer. In fact, I felt that it was worth a write-up. So here it is, in my hopes of being able to help out those who seek to forge partnerships and collaborate with likeminded individuals as well.
First and foremost, I believe that the most important recipe for success in any partnership is that the both of you (or the company/corporation if it is at that level) share the same values, and place importance on the same priorities. This also enables open communication, ensures smooth sailing operations and honest assignment of roles. In my case for instance, I count loyalty, character, work ethic, transparency, integrity, professionalism and a genuine intention to achieve a common goal as my non-negotiables. Regardless of whether I choose to work with friends or not, these are traits I put utmost value upon, and which I feel have fueled some of my most successful partnerships. The absence of which have taught me some of the most difficult lessons in past collaborations. And yes, it is possible to work with friends, for as long as the both of you are able to put on the professional hat during business transactions and discussions, and honestly examine aspects – the good, the bad and the ugly – from multiple facets.
There must be mutual respect and trust between the both of you, and a clear distinction between roles and assignments. This ensures no over-stepping of boundaries, and the freedom to focus on your specified expertise. Keep in mind that the purpose of collaboration is to be able to merge strengths together – in other words, instead of needing to relearn a craft, joining forces with someone who has already mastered it, and lending your time and talent to innovate – to come up with some new, meaningful and purposeful.
Lastly, build bridges and nurture relationships, instead of burning the former, and destroying the latter. Be grateful for the trust they have given you to join forces with them, and be honored to be a part of their story and journey. Ensure that the fruits of your labor are worth the time you invest, and do not be afraid to say no to an offer if it does not resonate with you. Do not spread yourself out too thinly, and always remember, that curating what you lend your efforts to is the way to go. Ensure quality over quantity, and do not ever force a project, or whatever reason because the rate of failure is greater. Nothing is more impressive and inspired than a partnership that unfolds organically, and writes its own story. Put your heart and hard work into all that you do, and leave the rest to fate. It works, I promise.