Olive Strachan North West Export Champion 2016
phone +44 (0) 161 209 3950


Having worked in a professional environment since the beginning of my career there has been a lot of change in the way organisations and individuals do business together. We were not encouraged to share information or work with others, we were told to; Go out there! Close that deal! Make it happen! This was reflected in your PDR’s when you would often be asked the question ‘what have you achieved?’ What added value have you brought to this organisation through your individual effort?

Fast forward to today and how things have changed! The word collaboration or being collaborative is part of most competency frameworks, with employees being encouraged to demonstrate that they are collaborating not only with colleagues within their business but with other organisations that may complement what they do. We are encouraged to increase our visibility through communication and influencing skills.

I have been on the Manchester Branch of the CIPD for many years and the values of the CIPD are around;

P A C E

Which stand for:
  • Purposeful
  • Agile
  • Collaborative
  • Expert
Once again that word Collaborative features as part of the values they hold dear.

As the CEO and founder of Olive Strachan Resources the word collaborate is a call to action. To be collaborative we have to reach out to others and demonstrate the business benefits of working together. In October of this year I experienced collaboration at its best. On 6th October we collaborated with TLT Solicitors to organise The Olive Branch networking event for professional business women. The event involved professional women sitting together to plan an event that would inform, interest and inspire people to come along and give up their valuable time.

TLT were gracious enough to host the event and provide us with a beautiful venue together with a delicious healthy lunch which was extremely popular. The event was in two parts, eating for maximum brain health and managing and retaining your talent. The feedback was extremely positive with everyone saying how worthwhile the event was and they had found it very beneficial. I was also asked ‘when the next event would take place’.

The second successful collaboration was with Hays recruitment specialist who were kind enough to host the CIPD HR Leaders event on 8th October. This was a breakfast event and Chris Maguire the Editor of Insider magazine gave us an insight into the world of newspapers and the changes he had observed over the years. It was rewarding to see a variety of organisations network over coffee and croissants. This event also involved Hay’s inviting along some of their clients who are HR Leaders to network with CIPD Chartered Fellows.

The feedback was fantastic and everyone had appreciated the opportunity to meet other North West businesses and enjoyed sharing insights into current issues. A benchmark of a good event is when an hour after the event has finished, there are still people sitting there reluctant to leave.

What are the benefits of collaborating?
  • We bring people together who would normally never meet in the scheme of things.
  • We learn from each other, each person has a different view point and methodology
  • We form new friendships and links that could be life changing
  • We learn new skills
  • We grow our business
  • We raise our profile in the business world and I could go on and on…
What should you do?
  • If you haven’t already then add collaboration to your marketing and PR plan.
  • Look for organisations that complement your own.
  • Clarify the outcomes of the collaboration so that there is no ambiguity
  • Have planning meetings so that on the day it runs smoothly with each person understanding their role and their contribution to the event.
  • Review and evaluate so that you can make any improvements next time.
Social Media

Use Social media to create some excitement around the event and raise awareness; we made use of twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It is very important to liaise with the organisations you are collaborating with so that you have a clear and consistent message.

Big NO NO’s

If you are using a speaker always see them in action before you use them and clarify that if they are good enough their product or service will speak for themselves. The lasting impression is how good your service or product is and NOT a big sales pitch. There is nothing worse than taking time out to go to an event when the speaker does not divulge the information you expect to be imparted. Instead they give you a teaser then proceed to ask you to view their website or read their book or register on their next event costing x amount so you will hear the rest!!

There you have it! So go ahead, collaborate! Share! Enjoy. I felt a sense of pride and achievement at both of my events this week and plan many more! If you feel you would like to work with OSR on future events email olive@olivestrachan.com

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