Collaboration Took Michael Jackson From Good to Great—It Can Do The Same For Your Organization

Linda Dulye's picture

A rising talent in the 1960s.

A bonafide star in the 1970s.

But in the 1980s, it was collaboration with music genius Quincy Jones, that elevated him to super stardom—his globally recognized “King of Pop” status.

MJ’s teamwork with the man known as Q resulted in his three top selling albums: Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad. Thriller still triumphs as the best selling album, ever.
Collaboration fueled the ascent for Michael Jackson from good to great.

It can also work for you—and your organization.  Here are six techniques that can get you going down a path where 1 + 1 = 3:

1.    Respect your differences – and leverage them.  Along with our similarities, we all also have our differences.  Too often we use those differences as excuses for why we can’t or shouldn’t partner with another individual or group.  Differences can provide some of the best opportunities for improvement and personal growth.  They can allow us to achieve even more than our initial expectations.  Be open to different viewpoints and skill sets – and learn.

2.    Don’t get bogged down with titles.
  Focus on the opportunity, not your title.  Get out on the floor and understand what makes your people tick.  If you’re in a manufacturing setting, partner with the manufacturing leaders.  Find out what makes them and their people tick.  Get with your Finance leads.  Find out why the end of the quarter is such a stressful time for Finance, Business Development, Quality and Manufacturing.  When you immerse  yourself in the rhythm and flow of your business, you become a better leader – not just a better  communicator.

3.    Use social media as a tool, not a gimmick.  These new tools are best used to allow dialogue – collaboration.  They are not effective as one-way information delivery devices.  It’s also important to remember that, in a manufacturing organization, many people do not have access to computers and other devices to receive information.  A good communications process and program gets everyone involved and leaves no one feeling disenfranchised.

4.    Take an inventory of your practices.
  Are they inclusive or are they susceptible to filtering?  Are your messages being seen and heard the way you want them to be?  How do you know?  Find out through active polling or another measurement technique. The direct feedback will help you to calibrate the effectiveness of your interpersonal and team communications practices. 

5.    Support the rise of managers-as-communicators.  Collaborating with your organization’s managers and supervisory team means giving them the tools that they need to be effective leaders and a trusted source of communications.   But, just as you wouldn’t hand the keys to a teenager who has never driven before, don’t assume that managers and supervisors have the skills and ability to communicate.  Train them, and give them opportunities to grow.  You’ll not only improve individual skill sets, you’ll improve your organization and its productivity.

Hear more about collaboration, on my latest Spectator-Free Workplace™ podcast.  Click on

There are many ways to collaborate in the workplace.  Take a tip from Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones and Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.