Practice makes better: getting fit to collaborate

How would you rate your collaborative fitness?

In the new film, Ride Like a Girl, jockey Michelle Payne complains to her dad that she can’t keep ‘race fit’ with the two horses he’s got in his stables.

She needs to practice to make it to Group 1 racing, to give herself a chance of achieving her childhood dream to win the Melbourne Cup.

In the movie, we see her take matters into her own hands, driving frantically from race meet to race meet across country Victoria before finally getting a crack at the city courses. Just watching it is exhausting. You know how the story ends – her practice clearly paid off. She was the first woman to win the Melbourne Cup.

Practice makes better. For champions like Michelle, and the rest of us.

I’m not aiming to break any records except my own ‘personal bests’. Still, it was disappointing to realise this morning at training that I was not ‘monkey bar’ fit and had to use two hands on each rung. Especially after I’d built up to doing them one-handed about two years ago. Just a week or two not doing the monkey bars weakened my ability.

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Practice makes better. To be fit for a horse race, a bush walk, a mountain climb, yoga practice, a run on the beach, tennis, footy, soccer and monkey bars.

The fitness metaphor resonates with people when I work with them to strengthen their ability to collaborate.

Collaborative skills are like any other and I believe that anyone can learn them. Collaboration does not just magically happen because of personalities and opportunities, despite what a CEO once told me. On the contrary, the skills needed to collaborate can be learned and practised.

Even if you have a tremendous track record of collaboration, like any elite performer, you practise. As the adage goes, attributed to various golfers:

“The harder I practice, the luckier I get.”


Want to get fitter to collaborate? Here are three ways I can help:

1. Grab a free copy of my Collaborability white paper.
It’s about the challenges we face when we collaborate, what we can do to overcome them and how to get started.

2. Talk to me about playing Game for Solutions
A people-sized board game that exercises your collaborative muscles to get ideas fast. Together.

3. Get started on my Collaborability Workout program.
A mix of workshops and mentoring that give you frameworks, tips, tools and strategies to collaborate and get results.