Over the past several months, I’ve been collaborating with a new partner on a new project. We’ve been having a ton of fun brainstorming, designing, and recording together to create a co-hosted podcast called AcademiGig.

I’ll be sharing out more information about this project soon (it launches next week), but what I really want to talk about is the power of partnerships.

I cannot express enough appreciation for the colleagues that collaborate with me on the book series I edit, the grants I write, the reports I produce, in my mastermind group, and in the online communities where I go to find kindred spirits with shared interests.

It took me a while to really appreciate these relationships and partnerships for what they are.

You see, academics are mostly trained to work in isolation. I certainly was.

Although there are some fields that really prioritize teamwork, many of us have experienced the isolation of writing alone in our offices and teaching alone in our classrooms. We aren’t usually trained to turn to each other for support, brainstorming, and collaboration.

But there are so many benefits to partnerships. Here are just a few:

You stretch beyond your own abilities. One person can only do so much, but with partners you can accomplish a lot more. You get more brainpower, more hands on deck, and more pull to get projects done.

You get more energy. Every large project has a moment where there’s a dip in motivation. When you are working with partners, they can help you to get energized and back on track again.

You are held accountable. Setting deadlines in collaboration with partners means that everyone knows when everything is due. Partners can be just what you need to hit your deadlines when you’re feeling unmotivated.

You have to defend your ideas. Some of my partners are incredible critical thinkers. They ask amazing questions that force me to think about all the alternatives and directions for the projects we work on together.

In the past year, I have turned to partners more than ever to help ease the burden of the many projects on my plate. For example, two of my books coming out next year are edited collections written with over two dozen colleagues. And my next two books are both going to be co-authored.

All of these projects were made stronger by these collaborations.

While collaborating isn’t always easy I’ve always found that, with the right partners, it’s completely worth it.

To think on:

  • What collaborative projects have been the most beneficial for you?
  • What characteristics do your favorite collaboration partners have?