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Why 80/20 Thinking Demands Collaborative Innovation Now More Than Ever

The greatest determinant of greatness is going to be our ability to collaborate with others who have pieces of the puzzle we don’t.

— Jay Abraham

The 80/20 principle suggests that 80% of our results come from just 20% of our efforts, but are we leveraging this power to the fullest? In today’s intricate landscape, this principle underscores the sheer importance of collaboration. 

We often overlook the massive potential in that critical 20% — the unique perspectives and skills others bring. Collaboration isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the very fabric of innovation and progress. 

Drawing inspiration from Jay Abraham and my own experience, I explore the necessity of combining diverse expertise in our interconnected world. Dive in and discover why the future belongs to the collaborators.

Jay Abraham is a renowned marketing strategist and business consultant. I’ve been a student of Jay’s work since the 1990s when I relied on his expertise to help me grow a software company I founded.

Jay’s quote underscores the importance of recognizing one’s limitations and the immense value that can be unlocked when diverse skills and perspectives are brought together. In a world that’s becoming increasingly interconnected and complex, collaborating effectively is arguably more critical than ever before.

Interestingly, I’m just becoming aware (as I write this) of how Jay’s philosophy may have influenced me in my work over the past 13 years. Fundamental to my work at 5 Minutes to Process Improvement Success, Forward Thinking Workplaces, Space Beyond Boundaries, and now at LeaderONE, is uncovering and bringing together diverse perspectives where innovative new solutions may be discovered.

Why is collaborating more critical today than ever before?

No matter how knowledgeable or skilled an individual is, it’s virtually impossible for one person to have all the answers or skills. No matter how seasoned or well-educated, individuals will always have gaps in their knowledge or capabilities.

In today’s world, any project, goal, or vision is like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece represents a unique knowledge, skill, or resource. Every piece must fit together correctly to see the full picture or achieve the desired outcome.

Recognizing that we don’t have all the answers fosters humility. It acknowledges our interdependency. We often need others to bring their expertise, perspectives, and resources to achieve something greater than we could alone.

And collaboration isn’t just about filling gaps. When done correctly, it magnifies results. Combining diverse perspectives often leads to more creative, robust, and effective solutions than any single perspective could have produced.

As businesses and problems become more complex, collaboration is no longer a luxury—it’s a necessity. Innovative solutions often emerge at the intersections of disciplines. For example, biotechnology can benefit from insights into computer science, and vice versa.

If collaboration is key to greatness, then skills like communication, empathy, and teamwork become even more crucial. It’s not enough to be a subject matter expert; one must also be effective at interfacing with others, understanding their viewpoints, and finding common ground. 

In a recent post, I noted that the rapid rise of AI and automation will introduce profound shifts in how we live and work. I wrote, “In this new paradigm, work becomes less about what we do and more about how we are, the state of consciousness from which our actions arise.”

I also believe traditional (Industrial Age) views of competition are becoming less relevant in many sectors. Instead of viewing others solely as competitors, seeing potential collaborators is often more productive and valuable. Many of today’s most successful companies and innovations have arisen from collaborations between entities that might once have viewed each other as rivals.

What has been your experience with collaboration?

Here’s to our journey of greater collaboration and greatness!

— Bill

Bill Fox, Founder @ LeaderONE, SpaceB, and Forward Thinking Workplaces

P. S. Unlock the undiscovered potential of your team at our monthly LeaderONE Platform workshops. Dive deep into a realm where fresh external insights merge seamlessly with the group’s collective wisdom. This isn’t just another workshop; it’s an odyssey charting uncharted territories of opportunity and growth. To embark on this transformative journey, visit Charting a New Odyssey. And if you believe your entire organization can benefit, don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s sculpt greatness together.