How to nurture co-creation within your SME

Every business works better when there is a positive and creative culture but within the framework of an SME it can be particularly beneficial. Teams tend to be smaller, and staff are often more easily influenced by their co-workers – for good, and for bad. By creating a culture of co-creation, people join together to produce a mutually valued outcome. In my experience, it is the cultivation of win-win solutions where efficiency, profitability and staff fulfilment march hand in hand.

Effective co-creation requires trust. If trust levels are low, misunderstandings occur, fear, short-sightedness and selfishness take the place of reason. As a result poor decisions get made.

So how can an SME overcome this and create a positive culture? Here is my advice to ensure co-creation with your business:

  1. Resist judging and criticising others

Blaming other people is a result of ‘projection’. We all do it and it has the same effect as blaming outer circumstances, we disempower ourselves.

‘Projection’ is the term used by psychologists to describe the process by which people hide aspects of themselves they do not want to acknowledge, instead, attributing them to others. Rather than face what we perceive to be our negative traits, we blame them on others.

Ask yourself: ‘What is (name the person) reminding me of that is actually an aspect of my own personality that I do not like?’

  1. Resist blaming outer circumstances

Blaming outside circumstances such as a recession, government policy or even cancelled orders actually disempowers ourselves. We give away our potential to adapt and close ourselves off from seeing new opportunities. In every recession there are companies that re-invent themselves and this resurgence is down to them not being entrenched in negative thinking.

Ask yourself: ‘With regard to (name the challenge) what do I need to learn from this situation?’

  1. Nurture your intuition, and the intuion of your team members

Intuition is often what allows a small business to get started but it can be hampered by the negative ego. The universe is constantly trying to help us free us from our negative ego and it speaks to us through our intuition. Unfortunately however pressures at work, being hunched over a computer all day, not taking proper breaks and stress generally dumb our intuition.

When we consciously decide to recognise our intuition, it willingly and increasingly communicates to us; by allowing it space and giving it focus, we strengthen it. We nurture our intuition by regularly absorbing ourselves in activities that take us completely away from our routine thinking, out of our heads, and into our bodies.

  1. Encourage everyone to practise ‘Pacing’

Pacing is when we acknowledge what the other person is saying by repeating back to them what we have heard them say. It demands attentive listening. For example:

Joe – I’d really like to understand what you are saying. Can I repeat back what I think you are saying and you can tell me whether or not I have got it right, and if not where I’m going wrong.

Pacing calms situations down, brings deeper understanding and creates trust. It is a listening exercise – you are not agreeing to whatever the other is saying, but you are seeking a deeper understanding.

  1. Ask specific questions of your higher self, and encourage others to do so too

Our higher self, that part of us that is pure and represents the truth of who we really are, wants to lead us to places beyond our limited imagination. It seeks win-win solutions. Although it is expressed spontaneously through intuition, it can also be consulted pro-actively.

Take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes, and step back from any immediate emotional ties to the issue. Then pose the question. The right answer will always carry more vitality and enthusiasm and the first answer is usually the best one. Anything that comes later risks being influenced by our customary limiting beliefs.

By following this advice your SME can effectively, and successfully harness the power of co-creation and enjoy increased efficiency and profitability.

John Reynard is a business counsellor and author of The Spiritual Route to Entrepreneurial Success.