The Whole Truth

Oct 05

2010

Strategic Collaboration Possible for Women?

by Alexis Neely - Posted in Business, Collaboration, Lead Like a Woman, Powerful Feminine Leadership |

Today, I spent the day coaching the women in my Powerful Feminine Leader Mastermind and Private Coaching Group.  It’s some of my absolute favorite work because the women who have come forth are magnificent examples of the feminine in leadership and I feel honored to support them as they explore and take action on the new paradigm in business.

We are throwing out the old way that is full of stress, struggle, and strain and ushering in a new way of grace, ease, harmony as we let go of false images and identities and step into the truth of who we really are … in life and business.

When we do it, we get paid to give our deepest gifts to the world surrounded by a sustainable business model!

Today, the focus with most of the women I was coaching was to develop the specific Relationship Pathway that they will guide their clients down and the Collaborative Circle they’d create to support their clients in areas where they don’t go deep.

The Relationship Pathway is the map of your programs, products and courses based on who you serve, how you serve them, when you offer each program, product and course and how much you charge.

It’s a next level piece after building your Money Map.

In just about all of their cases, we began to identify that after they got clear on their Relationship Pathway the key to their growth is intentional, strategic collaboration with alliance partners who would support them, their clients and strengthen their message.

Here are some of the things that I find often comes up for women when we start to talk about strategic and intentional collaboration:

  • Fear that if we refer to a collaborative partner, our clients won’t have enough money to hire us too;
  • Fear that if we refer a client to a collaborative partner, we will lose the client;
  • Fear that the client won’t need us anymore;
  • General fear that we will somehow lose something, even if we can’t clearly express what that is or why.

Regardless of the source, with this fear comes resistance to true collaboration.

I’ve heard many a woman say, “oh, I love to collaborate”, but when the opportunity to do so is presented, there’s always some reason it doesn’t work out or they make a half-hearted effort or sabotage it in some way.

Unconscious fear patterns keep it from happening.

These fears are insidious, deeply buried and difficult to see.  Our mind rationalizes so many reasons the collaboration can’t or shouldn’t happen.

As a result, we end up trying to serve our clients too broadly and not serving them as well as we could if we let go of the parts that are not our sweet spot and brought in strategic, intentional collaborative partners to fill in the gaps.

For example, my clients are people who are ready to put business structures (like business models and legal agreements and business entities) around their world-changing gifts so they can make a difference, deeply serve their clients, monetize their message and have a business they can count on without sacrificing their personal life or their values.

These folks need to learn how to do online and offline marketing, copywriting, speaking, book writing, social media, traditional media, create information products, stay connected to their heart and body through the business-building process and quite a few other things.

These are all things I COULD teach – I’ve done all of them at one time or another.

But, that doesn’t mean I SHOULD teach them and, in fact, when I do, I’m shortchanging my clients from receiving the best of my best or what Gay Hendricks would call my Zone of Genius, in his book the Big Leap.

All of these other areas may be my Zone of Excellence, but my Zone of Genius is much more narrow.

I’m best at showing my clients what they cannot see, pulling it all together, giving them clear direction, strategy and words/structures around their messaging and model so they can reach their financial/impact objectives and build their business on a sustainable platform with focus and clarity (Money Map), guiding my clients through the legal pieces and helping them to overcome limiting beliefs/blind spots that hold them back (LIFT).

What that means is that I can go out and identify the best of the best for my clients to learn all the other pieces they’ll need as they grow their business and not be afraid to refer my clients to these strategic alliance partners.

I call this creating your Strategic Collaborative Circle.  And it sounds easy, but I’ve found it’s really difficult and one of the things that holds most women in business back the most.

We haven’t been taught how to play well together.

The internet marketing guys are great at it.  You notice that they strategically launch their programs and products and promote each other and seem to have no fear when it comes to collaboration and each of them owning a narrow piece of the whole puzzle.

But women have had a hard time getting it together.

I’m taking a stand for women coming together and truly collaborating, intentionally, strategically and fearlessly.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you my thoughts about HOW to do it, but before I do, I’d love to hear your thoughts – where does fear show up for you in the collaborative process?  What would make it more possible for you?

Are you collaborating now strategically? Share some examples with me if you are.  I’m excited to hear.


  • Great exploration of collaboration. Remember last year when we shared our theme for 2010? Community. And Collaboration is my leading value for 2011. Don’t think this is simply because we think alike… This is a natural progression from a focus on Community. We can only bring our best to our communities when we stand in the highest use of our gifts — and support others to do the same through open-hearted collaboration.

    Multi-passionate women must learn that just because we can do something (even when we’re really good at it), doesn’t mean we should do it. BestLifeDesign.com is a collaborative model — and we’ve been working behind the scenes over the past month (fueled by the shifts I’ve been experiencing toward truer and fuller collaboration) to create even more synergy in a way that brings more to both contributors/collaborators and community.

    Looking forward to seeing where your journey is taking you. Undoubtedly to a place of bigger impact!
    xoxo
    Mollie

  • Very timely Alexis, thank you. I’m working behind the scenes at the moment developing a membership model which is built on collaboration. I love your “zones of excellence” and “zones of genius”, I know that I have a wealth of sources from having spent so much time on my own development which it doesn’t serve me, or my tribe, to teach them. It would dilute me much too much. Instead, I want to share this knowledge with my tribe by creating a platform to showcase what others are doing and creating.

    Collaboration helps you move away from the limiting belief of scarcity to one of abundance. There is enough for me. There is enough for all of us. And when you are generous, you receive much more in return.

  • I love this post Alexis and you are an awesome example of collaboration and sharing others gifts.

    I’m seeing the magic happen around collaborating as I had the intention this year to making deep connections with others and do awesome work together… and it’s happening – one connection at a time. So happy that you are one of them! And thanks always for your support!

  • I’m currently reviewing Riane Eisler’s, The Power of Partnership and it is fascinating what she has to say about the domination vs. partnership paradigms and how they show up in our seven layers of relationships. 😉

  • Thank you for the timely reminder that we have both a Zone of Excellence and a Zone of Genius! As a woman I often feel obligated to teach my zone of excellence when what I really want to be helping others with is my zone of genius! Thank you for the reminder to own my genius and live from that place!

    As for collaborating with other woman, I am starting to open myself to the possibilities. I am really excited but also anxious. I feel my “people pleaser” side come up when I start with work with other esteemed collegues. I want to always show them my best work and sometimes this comes at a price to my own deadlines and work. Any suggestions for keeping the people pleaser at bay would be wonderful! Thanks!

  • Monick Halm

    I love this post! It’s truly so important for women!