Look after your bridges

Look at the picture above, most will see a half-finished bridge, I see the future of the business economy.

It took thousands of men, locally known as “The Briggers”, to build this iconic structure that spans 2 km across the river Firth of Forth in Scotland. At least 73 of these men lost their lives during the build but there was one key element that ensured that the job was completed successfully and that was collaboration. These men didn’t have time for office politics, there was no social media to distract them, it was achieved by nothing by hard work and true grit.

They worked hard and they played hard, together.

In order for this iconic structure to stay in pristine condition it requires maintenance, as an example the most recent repair and repainting project took 10 years and cost £130m, this too was a colossal collaborative effort of over 400 personnel.

What have bridges got to do with business economy?

It’s common knowledge that large multinational companies have recently realised that on their own they have hit their growth ceiling but if they join forces with another like-minded organisation together they can achieve great things.

In the tech sector consumers are seeking an agnostic technology environment so that they can harness the power of this collaborative economy, to succeed we need to establish and maintain long lasting relationships with our customers, stakeholders and fellow employees.

Now think back to your last corporate role, how many solid internal relationships did you put a lot of time and effort into building. The IT team, HR, Legal, Finance, Suppliers, cleaners and even Joe in the canteen. I am sure there was always someone you knew who could help you get something done quicker. This is great when you are still at the company but what happens when you leave?

People are always giving us advice on not burning our bridges, we get that, but failing to maintain the bridge that you have spent years to build will also cause it to crumble and this is a concept many of us, including myself on occasion, seem to forget.

How are you going to maintain your bridge?

If you want to keep the bridge intact you need to reach out and engage with the other side. Don’t insult the person by continually commenting or liking a Facebook post or a re-tweeting what they had for breakfast, these actions have no value in the collaborative economy. You have to get off your ass and physically make the effort, pick up the phone and arrange to go for coffee, drinks, dinner out for a run anything to get real face time with that person or group of people. Truth is they are probably at home wondering how you are doing also.

In the last few years I have realised that collaboration, has got me to where I am today and by keeping these relationships alive I have grown and helped others grow in the industry by having a circle of like-minded “Briggers” to help maintain the bridge that we spent a lot of time building.

In the modern collaborative economy of the future you never know when you may need that bridge again.

I was inspired to write this whilst listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk podcast where he said “If you wanna write, get on Medium!”

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