EP 022

Make it Easy to Work With Others Outside of Your Organization

What are the requirements for easy and effective collaboration with customers, vendors, or anyone outside of your organization? It's not such an easy (or straightforward) question to answer, yet every business has to externally work with others at some point in time.

Luckily, we know a thing or two about what makes external collaboration effective. We're going to share our strategies that have led us to great external relationships in today's podcast episode of Make Others Successful 🙌

Episode Links
Hosted By
Mitch Herrema
Matt Dressel
Emma Allport, CSM
Livvy Feldman
Produced By
Benjamin Eizenga
Edited By
Eric Veeneman
Music By
Eric Veeneman

Transcript

Mitch (00:00):

<silence> everyone, welcome back to Make Others Successful, a podcast where we share strategies, stories, and insights about how to build a better workplace and in turn, make others successful. Today we're back. We're continuing the conversation that we've been on this past couple episodes. We have talked about internal communication, internal collaboration, and today external collaboration. But before we dig into like how we think about this and how we approach it, what our mindset is, and some of the principles that we stand by, do you want to like, lay out how do we draw a line, or why is it even important to make a distinction between internal and external collaboration at work?

Matt (00:46):

Yeah, that's a great question. I, it all comes down to how close you are to someone else. and it, a lot of it has to do with not only how technically things work because of that, but then also if you think about going to a client meeting, you might behave and approach that very differently than coming to an internal meeting. and they're just different, right? For that, for those reasons. and on top of it, like I was saying, there's technology challenges, right? by far, the most popular communication method for external people is email. and that's okay from us, right? Like we've, we're like, the people, like anti email, don't do email, is it? but sometimes it is okay to do that externally. Why? Because technologically, there's not a lot of other great options that you can do immediately without some other work, without some other effort that has to happen. So,

Mitch (01:46):

Okay, so drawing a distinction between you have a different relationship, there's maybe a different premise of why you're talking to the people, and then sometimes there's different technology limitations, which is why we separate those two. Yep. Is that accurate? Yep. Okay.

Matt (02:02):

I, I do wanna, I do, if I can though, I wanna talk about collaboration versus communication. Okay. Because it's also a challenge. People might think like, communication with external parties is like marketing materials. Like, you know, I'm sending out a new brochure for this thing. I'm though that's communication. Primarily collaboration is when you have an external party and you're trying to actually work on a shared outcome, right? Work together, you're, you're working together on something, right? you're not just trying to deliver them content, provide them information. You're working together on an outcome.

Mitch (02:40):

Okay. That's good. I feel like we, I dove right into this stuff. For someone that might be listening to this as their first episode, could we do intros really quick? Yeah. Just share who we are. Sure. Sure. Go

Matt (02:52):

Ahead. so this is Matt. I'm one of the principals here at bulb Digital, and my focus is on the communication, collaboration space.

Emma (03:02):

I'm Emma and I'm our delivery lead, which is a fancy way of saying I help deliver our projects. So that actually has a lot to do with collaborating with our clients as well as communicating internally to make sure we're aligned when we deliver our recommendations and projects to our clients.

Mitch (03:17):

Alright. I'm Mitch Harima. I help, I juggle a lot of things, honestly, but I do a lot of our operations and marketing and have my hand in some projects technically as well.

Livvy (03:32):

I'm Livy, I'm the marketing coordinator here, so every social post newsletter you get, blog post. I'm managing all that behind the scenes so we can provide release useful content for you. So, yeah,

Mitch (03:46):

No spam ever, right? Only good. Never

Livvy (03:48):

Spam,

Mitch (03:49):

Insightful, valuable, valuable content insights. Yes. Never. We don't write content. We provide insights. Yeah.

Livvy (03:56):

We wanna make you successful, right? Right. That's the goal.

Mitch (03:59):

So you can count on Livy to show up in your inbox every Thursday. Yeah,

Livvy (04:03):

It's me. Yep.

Mitch (04:04):

<laugh>. Cool. Okay. Let's get back to external collaboration. Let's start really broad and say like, how do we summarize how we think about it or how a business should think about it? What should the mindset be as they're approaching external collaboration?

Emma (04:25):

Well, first let me set the stage of what is it, what, who is someone who's external, right? So I think the way we we consider it is your internal folks are people who typically have the same email address domain as you. So it's everyone that's, you know, within your company. And so anyone external is someone who's not on your technology, is not an employee of your company. So now if you think about everyone internal is who has the same email domain as you and is really an employee of your company, everyone outside of that is an external Yep. Collaborator mm-hmm. <affirmative> customer, whether that's customer, whether that's someone who's receiving your newsletters. And so that's why it was good you made that distinction between communication and collaboration. I think for this, this podcast we're gonna talk about really people you work together with mm-hmm. Because it's specific to collaboration, but an external party could really be anyone. Yep. It could be your landlord. Yep. Right. Of, of your office building. Hundred percent. It's really anyone external to your company. Yep.

Mitch (05:22):

And the collaboration aspect means you're working together on some shared outcome, basically. Right, right. Okay. So why is external collaboration so important? Why are we calling this out as a thing that businesses need to pay attention to? How should they be thinking about it?

Matt (05:38):

Yeah, so there's several top several pieces that really make up why this is so important for organizations. Probably the biggest one is that there is huge gains that can be made in profitability and in effectiveness of employees and external people. when you talk about improving this collaboration very few organizations have zero parties that they're involved with externally and collaborate with externally. you know, maybe you don't collaborate with your customers externally, but maybe you collaborate with vendors. There are, there's so many ways that if you can improve that you're just gonna have a better experience and, and, you know, the bottom line is gonna be improved by making this better.

Mitch (06:22):

Can you give some examples of like what you would consider bad versus good, or like what, how does that actually trickle down into, say, profitability? So

Matt (06:31):

For, for an organization like ours, it's, it's even more important. Our business is largely, you know, dependent on us interacting with external parties. And so making, having an effective project many times is all about being effective with our collaboration with our, our partners and our customers. So for us, that's the big thing. So like, we have a project, how are we going to, like, one of the first things we talk about when we go through and do a project kickoff is how are we going to communicate? How are we going to collaborate? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, let's define how that's gonna work for this customer to make that work. If we didn't and we just let it be, whatever it was, most things would default to email and it would be a very poor experience for everybody involved to try to make that, that work. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> primarily because like I said before, email is okay in many cases, and we're gonna talk a little bit about why in the scenarios that it would be okay. But for example, if we have a project where we're developing a strategy document with another customer, with a customer, we need to both people able edit that document together. I do not want to create a draft, send it to them, have them read the draft, make some comments, us, make some further revisions,

Emma (07:41):

Hopeful they'll track changes. So that send to, so we can see what their changes are. <laugh>, it's,

Matt (07:45):

It's just a nightmare. Yeah. you know, that those types of scenarios for us at least, like, that's huge. other examples that we have from customers, you know, people are looking to manage their external parties, external vendors, right? We're a, we're an organization that has lots of contractors and other people that are engaging with us. How do we make that a better experience for them and for us? How do we track better what they're doing and how do they get better feedback from us? and let's figure out how to make that happen in a good way because email to a project manager doesn't work, right? Because now you're relying on that project manager to communicate with that with someone else, and maybe they don't understand what's going on. Or maybe the project manager's out for a week and you didn't know it. Like, there's so many things that can happen that if you don't have a way to effectively collaborate, you're just, it's gonna be a problem.

Emma (08:34):

Yeah. I think you're touching on a really great practical piece of advice there of the first step is to have a plan. Yeah. Because if you don't have a plan, it will typically default to not having the right people involved, not having the correct teams, and it's just a bunch of emailing back and forth. So step one, have a plan. We're gonna talk about the ways in which you can actually collaborate, but the first thing is to call it out with whatever that external partnership is going to be, so that you're both on the same page of, Hey, this is the best way to effectively work

Matt (09:02):

Together. Yep.

Mitch (09:04):

Yeah. Cool. So we covered that. It will eventually trickle down, it'll eventually affect the bottom line. So we think it's really important. Are there any other kind of approach mindset, things that we take into external collaboration?

Matt (09:19):

We talked, touched about it a little bit, and that is not every scenario is the same. So you should not go into this saying, I'm gonna make, I'm gonna use this practice for doing external community collaboration. And it's the same for everybody. That's a recipe for failure largely because you are not in control of the external party. if it's an external vendor, if the vendor is not capable of using a method that you want to use, you don't have much options. Right? Like, you, you can't affect change on that very much without just saying, you know, we're not gonna work with you anymore, or you're gonna do it our way. Right. so when we have that conversation, like we talked about, like, I'll use us as an example. when we have that conversation at the beginning of the, the, the project, it is a conversation. We don't go, this is the only way, and that's it. Right. If we're working with somebody who we know is, is, you know, we're doing a project to teach them about teams, we are definitely not gonna try to use teams to do that communication from the get go. Right. We may transition to it, but that's not gonna be our platform of choice to start with. Right. Yeah.

Mitch (10:23):

And there's, there, like you just said, there has been times where we've been in a relationship with a client and we've shifted towards something else because we're like, what works best? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, just because you define it right up front doesn't mean it's gonna be Yep. Forever. It can evolve throughout the life, the life cycle. Yeah.

Matt (10:41):

You, you really need to make an assessment of both from your organization's perspective and the, the organization that you're communicating, or the pure person they're communicating with what they're, what's, what's the most comfortable, what's gonna be effective with them. Right. and then make some decisions about how to approach that. So having flexibility and having an open mind, and as Emma pointed out, having a plan, right? Yes. Like you know, if you say, this is how we communicate with all of our vendors, that can go into your vendor selection process, and you can make a choice whether or not that vendor is really a good partner if they cannot deal with what you're doing, which is actually a very common thing. Many large organizations have vendor management systems, and unless you're willing to work with that vendor management system, which is their custom way to manage that collaboration,

Mitch (11:27):

Have you ever found a good vendor management system? <laugh>? I mean, are they all

Matt (11:31):

Bad? Your definition is not good. Right? you know, vendor management systems work. They're, they're large organizations. They work for the large organization, and if you are a large organization working with a larger organization with, you know, millions of dollars in contracts with them, it probably works great. if you're a person who's doing a, you know, a $50,000 project, one time kind, kind of onerous. Yeah.

Mitch (11:55):

Okay. And any other thoughts on this before we dig into some of our principles?

Matt (11:59):

I think the last really important piece is the security aspect of this functionality, right? Yeah. security is a key component to why this communication and collaboration or this collaboration component is important.

Mitch (12:16):

That's one of the biggest questions we get, like when we are engaging on something, is, is this secure? Can I use this? Can I

Matt (12:22):

Trust it? Yeah. Or, or how do we how do we, is are there things that we can make it more secure? Right? Right. you know, sending emails back and forth can be secure with encrypted email you know, end-to-end encryption, et cetera, et cetera. But people have to choose to do that, and not everybody does. in addition those email that, you know, it takes one person one time to make a mistake about it, and you can have a different problem transferring and making sure that you're effectively collaborating using tools can make your collaboration so much more secure than sending emails back and forth or, you know, using an F T P server back and forth or all those types of things.

Emma (13:07):

A lesser sort of known, I guess, aspect of this of security, I would say is also confidentiality, which comes up with our clients Yep. at different points as well. So the thing that comes to mind, because we're all remote now, and it's very hybrid meeting recordings, so when you actually have to share meeting recordings with an external team being able to put things in place where you get to decide with that leader who is going to have access to that meeting recording, especially if there's confidential topics discussed in that, which in some of our projects there are. So you do have to have the ability to create some security and some confidentiality around that.

Matt (13:44):

Yeah. to that same point, the probably one of the most important things about security is not just that you care about security, but oftentimes there is a direct there, security's in direct opposition to convenience. Sure. Right. you just mentioned screen sharing video recordings. you can make it really easy to share those videos out with lots of people make like, I, I just wanna be able to give somebody a link and have 'em access it, but then I don't know who's accessing it. Right. Then I don't, I can't shut it off when I really want to, or I can't shut it off for this person and add this person. Right. if

Mitch (14:24):

You do, then you gotta send a new link to the people that you, the people.

Matt (14:26):

Correct. Right. Like, and it's, and it's, so, it's not just that security is important, but your mindset and your thought about how you do collaboration needs to in involve security and the recognition that these two are opposing forces. Like, you're going to have to either give up some convenience and train people and deal with these, you know, intricacies or you're not gonna be as secure as you want to be. Right. Like, there is that opposing those two opposing forces related to this.

Mitch (14:58):

Okay. 'cause to summarize, external collaboration is really important, and it's something that you should have the right mindset about because it affects the bottom line. Yes. It is not the same for everyone. It's gonna be unique across different external collaborators. And so it's important to kind of, kind of frame your mindset in the right way when you're approaching that. And then third is security. It's super important, especially for some confidential mm-hmm. <affirmative> or people with confidential documents and they need to share some of that information. what's funny about the next section is that it's about principles of what are some things that I can stand by and use throughout my day to day and help me make decisions on is this the right thing to do for external collaboration? What's funny about that is that the second point is that of our mindset was it's different for everybody <laugh>. And so we're trying to make a distinction there of the solution is different for everybody, but these principles should hold true across anything that you're doing in regards to external collaboration.

Matt (16:13):

Yeah. It's, it's really more about you should be assessing whether or not these are the right things to do when you're doing the activity that you're doing. and it's okay if they're not like, like if you decide that in this particular scenario, other things override this, this, that's kind of Okay.

Mitch (16:34):

Okay. Emma, you wanna tee up our first principle?

Emma (16:37):

Yeah. Our first principle is to use a tool to help schedule meetings. Don't go back and forth on your email, <laugh> with an external partner. this is part of my role here is coordinating and scheduling meeting times. And I think anyone who's ever scheduled a meeting with more than two people knows it can be very difficult, especially in our busy world, to actually find a time that works for all of the parties. there are modern tools out there that are designed specifically to help us do that. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, what's your favorite tool? Yeah, I was gonna say, well, one that we use here at Bulb Digital is called Calendly. And we did recently do a video on this, and we had a few people comment that Microsoft Bookings has really upped their game and is much more on par with Calendly. So I'll be checking that out soon, likely, because we do pay a price to actually use

Mitch (17:28):

Calendly. Yeah. If, if I remember correctly, they're rebranding it as virtual appointments from bookings. I'm pretty sure don't Interesting. Don't quote me on this. and I think that lends to the use case better that I've seen over the years where it's, think about like a hair salon. I am a hairdresser and I want people to be able to come in and book a service with me a one hour haircut or something like that. That is the core functionality of that tool. where it typically falls short and that we've seen is that can't do collective bookings where it's like, okay, we're gonna record a podcast, let's look at a calendar where we can pick a time that works for all four people pretending we were like external or something. Yeah. Yeah. and so that collective functionality was really important with the tool that we chose. and then I think they mentioned a couple other things like find time and Yeah. That kinda stuff too. Yeah.

Matt (18:29):

There's, there's really like, back to this is why this is all it triangulates itself, like security is another, another aspect of it, right? So Calendly requires you to be able to give someone access to see Yes. Your calendar, right? some organizations won't allow that, right? They're like, Nope, we're not gonna do that. Guess what? There's still options. Find time or polling, which is really what it's called now. Yeah. Schedule polling. Yeah. is allows you to say, here's some options that work for me. Do they work for you? And it just manages the whole, you know, yes, this works for me. No, this doesn't work for me. I prefer this. I don't prefer that. Yep. Like, that's what this goes.

Mitch (19:06):

It'll like Yeah. Block out your time Yep. So that you can kinda hold it till I pick one.

Matt (19:10):

Is it ideal? No. Okay.

Mitch (19:12):

But it's, I don't, I don't like that it's

Matt (19:14):

Block, it's better, it's better than sending an email back and forth.

Emma (19:18):

Anything is better than sending an email back and forth. and to what the one thing you said about Calendly people don't actually have access to see what's on your calendar. They just see when you're booked,

Matt (19:28):

When available and

Emma (19:29):

Available sort of things. I'm sure there's a couple people going, I would never use that then if someone's

Matt (19:34):

Yeah. Totally. See my calendar, that's sign me. That's what you meant. Yeah. And, and like, we've had customers, large enterprise customers who for compliance reasons say, I just, we cannot allow that. We're not going to allow people to even have that as an option. Right. but I would just even say to that, like, I, I call, you know, you're wrong, <laugh>. like for salespeople, that's what they're doing anyways. They're gonna be doing the same thing anyways. They're gonna take a screenshot of their calendar and be like, Hey, look at, like, right. So even if it's just for a small segment of your workforce it can make the world of difference in regards to making it easier to, to collaborate.

Emma (20:12):

So obviously I use this all the time at our business and in our industry because I'm trying to coordinate time with three or four team members on our side with maybe one or two external members or a team on their side. another business I could think that could really benefit from this is anyone in the interior design business or construction business, where you have multiple team members internally that need to meet with an architect or a yeah. Painter or a kitchen designer or, you know, any of those things. And I sure we could come up with a million other industry examples, but just think of whenever you're trying to get a few people on your team and you're coordinating their calendars, like you're talking about this collective tool, it's just something that Outlook can't do for you. And it's worth investing in figuring out these tools so that you're not emailing back and forth or even picking up the phone to call to

Mitch (21:02):

Try. I wish we had an actual metric of how much time it saved us to just even as simple as like hours. Yeah. Yeah. a new lead that I was talking to the other day, I could I became available and I could have a meeting sooner. And so I was literally like, Hey, if you wanna meet sooner, go grab a time. And it was, sure. All of a sudden it shows up on my calendar and it was really like, no, no, almost no interaction from me, besides, here's a link and it's, we showed up in the meeting together

Emma (21:30):

And it's starting, it's starting that relationship on a great foot because it doesn't, it didn't start on a painful, oh my gosh, they're never available. Or Oh my goodness. You know, you wanna remove as much of that friction as you can at the beginning of a relationship because it really has that runway then to allow your, you to work together. Well,

Livvy (21:48):

A personal anecdote was actually when I applied here. Yeah. And Mitch sent me times for an interview and I said, like, let's, I did, I picked the coffee option in person. Yeah. And then Mitch ended up getting C O V I D Oh, that's right. So's instead of emailing back and forth for like new interview times, he was like, oh, just re-pick a time on my Calendly. Yeah. And it took five minutes. Yeah.

Emma (22:10):

And it best it set the teams meeting and you're I was set.

Matt (22:13):

Yeah. So the, the one thing that I wanna call about is that there are people who don't like this, like viscerally do not like this. And I, I can understand why, and I think there are reasons to not use it. the reason is because there's two, two scenarios that really happen. One is, if I use Calendly and use it to use Calendly, which one wins, right? if we're both wanting to use it, like what goes on, we've had it with bookings where a customer uses bookings and we're using Calendly, and it like, there's this, there's this tension about because, and which is going to the second piece, which is you are asking someone else to do the work, right? Yes. Yes. you are sending out and saying, I want you to find time on my calendar. Right. Right. which can feel weird.

(23:01):

I'll tell you that for me personally I don't have any problem with it. But if you are working with someone either that you don't know completely and you're, you know, this is a major endeavor that you're embarking on and you are going to this person, and the, the positioning is very much like you are asking them for something. Maybe it's appropriate to say, Hey, I'm gonna work with your, you know someone who's gonna manage your time. 'cause Yeah. In that case, maybe they've got a, someone who's a project project manager or something, and we're just, we're gonna sort it out. Right. and get on a call and sort it out. Right. I think there are scenarios that it, it can make sense, but I think those are small and getting smaller because for everybody involved, this experience to Livy to your point, is so much better than anything else. Yep.

Emma (23:49):

Yeah. So you're touching on our second point really of knowing your audience. Correct. so the first being use modern tools to, to help you get this done. Don't email back and forth. I think I've said that enough times. I think people get that.

Livvy (24:01):

We're really passionate about

Emma (24:02):

That. And so use modern tools, but also point B, audience, your audience, audience know what's going to work for them. I can speak of one client we're working with and email is the better way of getting ahold of them. And so we do have modern tools that we use and we link to in emails often, but we understand if we don't send the email, we're likely just going to miss each other. So sometimes you just have to be flexible and try to use more than one avenue.

Mitch (24:32):

Yeah. I have a client that likes phone calls. Yeah. You know, I, it's right. It's not my favorite, but it's, it's what works what you do. Yeah. Yeah. Yep.

Emma (24:40):

Gonna do it. And that's how you're able to add value, so.

Mitch (24:42):

Right, right. Yeah. I feel like we're at a unique time in history where some of the workforces older didn't grow up with technology, and then there's the young side of the workforce where it's like they've had a phone in their hands since they were a kid. So recognizing that and being able to cater how you're working with those different groups is so important because you're bound to run into each of them.

Livvy (25:08):

How do you either invite them into your space as an external users or you kind of integrate in their own space and meet them halfway?

Matt (25:16):

Yeah. So specifically what you're talking about is email, text message, and phone calls. There is, those are open platforms that anyone in the world can email me. Any in the world can text me unless I've blocked 'em off. <laugh>, anyone can can can call me on my phone. Right. <laugh>. So there is no, there's no, there's no barrier. It's like, it's, it's like seeing somebody on the street and saying, Hey, I want to like flag 'em down. I wanna talk to you. Right. that the benefit of that is you can do that, right? Like, that's the benefit is you get that free communication. The challenge is you don't have any context about what's going on. There's no, there's nothing going on. And so what you're talking about is cool, like, we could use those things, but when is it appropriate to say we're gonna, we're gonna establish, we're gonna take a little bit of effort and establish a relationship between our two, you know, us and use a different way to communicate that is more integrated, right?

(26:16):

Like Slack, like teams, like you know, if you have a custom, like we've talked about E R P or a vendor management system or you know, these types of things, when does it make sense to do that? And I think the answer is it varies, but you should always be trying to do that, right? Like where it makes sense, you should be trying to do that as much as you can, because that is where the, that's where the, the pot of gold is, if will, right? The, the benefit to your business is going to be making it easy to do that collaboration. And the only way to do that is to be on a shared platform, a shared system. and so sometimes that means, you know, that other party should join your system. Sometimes that means you should join their system, right? So for example, in a vendor management scenario if I'm working for a large Fortune 500 company and they have a vendor management system, you better believe it. If I wanna work for them, I'm gonna take the effort and join their system and do, you know, make that happen. Right? Depends

Mitch (27:15):

How big your stick is. <laugh>

Matt (27:16):

<laugh>, yeah. Maybe. Yeah. If you, well, if you have a big enough stick or or a big, they have a big enough need, right? Yeah. but like, you're going to do those things. and it's the same way the other way around, right? At the same time, I can tell you, which is what Mitch is talking about, which is we, I wouldn't care about like what Mitch is saying, he wouldn't care about generating, joining the vendor management system if it was like three clicks and a like, okay, on this side and I'm done, right? Yes. It's easy, seamless if it's a six months onboarding process. Yeah. Like, that's, that's

Mitch (27:45):

Take, take all this training now. Yep. Hours and hours and ugh.

Matt (27:48):

Which is, which is a, which is the, which is the problem with these things, right? Which is why there's varying degrees, right? which we've talked to, talked about in the past, and Emma can get into some details, but like for us in particular we use slack channels with integrated, integrated with our customers where we invite them directly into Slack channels. We use teams workspaces where we invite people as guests. We use teams workspaces where we have shared channels that we bring in other people. All of these things have different levels of barriers to entry and the way you configure them. we also talked about video, how you share videos, right? Video partners. Yeah. So videos, we, we share directly with a person, which doesn't require them to be invited into it. Like there's all these different levels and ways that you can work based on the technology. choose the one that works. Again, back to audiences, back to, you know, choose something, do something. Don't not do anything but choose the thing that works for your, for your group. And we've changed, like we, we have, as technology has evolved, as our customers have evolved, it's, we've changed what we want to do for different customers and for different, different, in different ways.

Emma (28:56):

One piece I I wanna get across here is, although we have talked about some of these can become more inconvenient because you are trying to up the security, there's actually this great place that you can get to when you do set what Matt is talking about up, it actually makes the collaboration and everything that much easier in the long run. So you may think sending an email with an attachment works well maybe for the first one, maybe for the second one, when you've sent that attachment 26 times, then you're kind of thinking, okay, maybe we should have come up with a new way. Well, if you'd set up a shared folder where you both have access into that folder where you can both edit a document together or, you know, access meeting recordings. Once you've got the folder, you can put a hundred thousand whatever you want into that folder. And that's not going to change. So if you just do it once, if you jump through that hoop once and help that external partner jump through that hoop the one time, it actually makes the rest of the relationship that much more effortless. It's sometimes just the first getting to that first step,

Matt (29:58):

But the effort is definitely is a hundred percent worth it. These are customers we work with all the time. Yes. We've worked with for a very long time. We're going to continue working with for a very long time. We need to be tightly integrated. Like that's just is the way it is. Right. for other customers, it's just not the same.

Mitch (30:13):

Yeah. I think it's maybe easy as we're just talking about this all in theory that we're saying, oh, our grass is so green over here, come over here. It's, it's a beautiful, beautiful place, but it is work. Oh yeah, it is. You have to like get over the fence. Like it's not at face value as easy as it is to send an email. Right. But after you get

Emma (30:34):

Over that, it's worth it. The grass is green over there. Right. <laugh> and if you can help your, I think the big thing we've talked about the, the string that's really been through this whole conversation. If you set up that relationship well at the beginning, and you gain the trust of that external partner that they do trust, the advice you're giving of this is you're not telling them how we're gonna do the relationship, but that this will save us time, it'll save us effort. We're gonna work together even better because of this. If they trust you in that, they will see the value because we see it with our clients all the time.

Matt (31:04):

There's also a huge, like, it's, it is an interesting macro thing when you think about it outside of, of just you know, business and our technology, technology things we're talking about. Mitch talked about the generational gap. and I would make it less a generational gap and more just a skillset gap between people. largely because people who grew up on Facebook and Instagram you know, unless they've had some dealt with challenges in their personal life related to security and management of things and understanding the concepts behind those things they're also gonna struggle for a little while. They'll probably grasp it a little faster than someone who doesn't, you know, has a, a more rudimentary understanding of apps and of, you know, all of these things. But, you know, it is a, it is a struggle once as more people become more aware of it. Like every day that we, someone learns more about it, right? The everyone in the world is better off because we all understand it better, right? Like, because this stuff isn't going away. Like these, this approach to doing it is not going to change. and anyone who is, you know, resisting it carte blanche

Emma (32:24):

And by are gonna be

Matt (32:25):

Continually left behind.

Emma (32:26):

You're talking about using technology, modern technology Yeah. To collaborate a hundred percent with people outside

Matt (32:32):

Your company. Not saying, not saying, let's get on a meeting and also open the document and share my screen and let's edit the document together on my screen. Tell me what you want me to write. Like, if that's what you're doing,

Emma (32:43):

You almost realize kids these days will never know the, the pain of what Google Docs and, you know, the original collaboration tools are before any of that even came out. Well,

Matt (32:53):

This is a perfect thing is it's crazy. Like lots of kids are growing up doing Google Docs for multi-person collaboration, so they understand multi-person collaboration. They get that mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they get sharing a file. They don't understand topic-based communication, collaboration.

Emma (33:09):

There's a strategy to Yeah. That'll have to be another podcast. They

Matt (33:12):

Don't understand. They don't understand the ramifications

Emma (33:15):

Of what they're doing. They're, yeah. There's definitely a strategy behind,

Matt (33:19):

Because just working on a document, the risk, the security risk is like super low. Like I just share it with the five people I need to share it with. And when I don't want 'em to have it, I'd remove it. Or like, and that works for like my school project, but it does not work Enterprisewide for a five year project that I'm, you know, it's just not the same thing.

Mitch (33:36):

And maybe just to reassure everyone, again, we're talking about some big concepts, even in our own clients. We have, even in the same project, we have different levels of collaboration that we work with people. Yeah. Sometimes it's, we email, we don't get to the whole topic based chat. We don't get to the, the integrated shared channels. We get to, we have a shared planner board where we can all see our tasks, but there's different levels throughout that relationship where every one of these is a unique thing that needs to be catered to and needs to be specific. The

Emma (34:13):

Big takeaway is that there are tools and you can fully customize depending on that relationship, the length of that engagement to, to really take care of the pain points. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it's so universal. We all know these pain points. If you've ever worked with anyone outside your company, you could name them. Yep. And people have thought about this for a long time, and they've designed tools to help alleviate these. And we'd encourage you to really check them out because they've helped our bottom line, they've helped us save time, and it just makes it more enjoyable to work.

Mitch (34:44):

Do you wanna reiterate our principles really quick? for external collaboration and then we can close, close it

Emma (34:50):

Out. First we talked about using a tool to help schedule meetings. There's multiple out there. Definitely utilize those.

Mitch (34:58):

Second, to be clear, we're not sponsored by Calendly. They don't have an affiliate program. If they did them, we genuinely like them sign up for it.

Emma (35:03):

So true. Yeah. We're, we're a fan girls of Calendly, <laugh>. second was know your audience. So understand that every person you're gonna be working with might be a little bit different. So know who you're talking with or working with. And the last point we talked about was inviting external parties into your system or making the decision to join their system. So really being strategic about that and understanding where they're at and what's going to work for your engagement.

Mitch (35:30):

Cool. Alright. Any closing thoughts? Otherwise, appreciate anyone that is out there listening. Obviously we're kind of on this journey of focusing on, on different focus areas. what we believe makes a great workplace. I'll just plug, we've been doing regular webinars on this kind of content and we just love to invite you to that. Feel free to, to join and learn more about these topics. and we're excited to share more to come in the future. Thanks everyone. Happy

Livvy (36:04):

Collaborating.

Mitch (36:05):

Yeah, <laugh>, good luck.

Livvy (36:27):

Before you go, if you're listening to us on Spotify, at the bottom of our episode page, there's little q and a section and you can put any questions you have about external collaboration, any of the other previous topics we've talked about, or something that you've found helpful in your external collaboration journey. So we'd love to hear from you.

Mitch (36:45):

Yeah. We want this to be two way we wanna Yes. Create a community here.

Livvy (36:48):

Exactly.

Mitch (36:49):

Great. Okay. Bye now. That's good. Yeah.

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