When I think of Twyla Tharp I think of creativity in collaboration. When I was younger, I was given a book written by Twyla Tharp called The Creative Habit. It was an incredible resource that helped me better understand how creativity was a habit, and habits can be learned. I’ve shared it with many of my most creative friends and clients.
One thing that stood out for me was how practical Twyla was at making the complex art of creativity into a habit that can be learned by anyone who was willing to invest their time and efforts.
When The Collaborative Habit showed up on my desk, I couldn’t wait to share her wisdom with you. Twyla Tharp is an incredibly gifted dancer in her own right; but what made her more extraordinary was how she brought the best out of great dancers like Mikhail Baryshnikov.
When she chose to be a choreographer, you see her extraordinary gift for collaboration. Twyla Tharp gets the best performance out of all the people she collaborated with in every aspect of her life.
Today, I’ll share several ideas that can help take your collaboration efforts to the next level. Twyla believes collaborators aren’t born, they’re made. This means that anyone can become a better collaborator. I believe the future belongs to great collaborators.
The first idea Twyla shared is you must work on collaboration the way you work on other skills you hope to develop. You must make a constant effort to improve your collaboration skills a day at a time. To become better at collaboration you must focus your efforts on disciplined, repeated activities.
The second idea Twyla shared is great collaboration requires a shared purpose. It’s no use to work together if you cannot have a shared purpose. Superior collaboration requires a shared agenda that both partners are committed to make happen. Without open communication and shared purpose, your collaboration will fail before it starts. From my experience, partners with shared enthusiasm and purpose develop an innate ability to help bring out the best in each other. I’ve seen business collaborations fail because partners lack the clarity required to embrace a shared mission.
The third idea Twyla shared about great collaboration is collaborators understand their work together must become routine. Routine does not kill creativity between collaborators, but enhances their ability to work well together.
Great collaboration requires routine. Routine has positive impacts on great collaboration. First, it allows partners to have a framework that reinforces their unity and commitment. Second, routine provides a foundation of trust between partners. When both partners can see they are working towards a common goal or purpose, the shared results can become extraordinary.
Finally, the fourth idea Twyla shared is great collaboration requires both partners to change and grow together and separately. If you hope to become extraordinary at collaboration you must understand that like any other high value skill or strength, it requires you to work hard on yourself, as well as your partnership. Good collaboration takes time and a willingness to change. By expanding your skills through collaboration, you become a stronger leader in all aspects of your life.
This is a small portion of what Twyla Tharp shares in her book The Collaboration Habit, Life Lessons for Working Together. You should grab a copy at Amazon or your favorite bookstore. It takes your collaboration abilities to higher level.
Want to know more about Twyla Tharp and her life’s work and passions? You can learn more at the Twyla Tharp webpage today!
See you next week.