How to pick a great collaborator

From Nature Careers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

CollaborationI have spent a substantial amount of time on a project that was not fun. I did the majority of the work, and it ultimately came to nothing. Finding great collaborators, and being able to work with them productively, is one of the most important predictors of success.

Others’ ideas about what makes the best collaborators are available online, but I’ve never found a tool that fully captured my experiences with picking the right — or wrong — collaborators.

So, on the basis of others’ thoughts and my own ideas about collaboration (and to avoid a repeat occurrence of the project described above), I developed a framework to guide me through selecting the right collaborators and to help others in the same predicament.

Three important traits

Over the years, I’ve found that the people I collaborate with best share three characteristics. A good way to assess potential collaborators’ characteristics is to have a couple of initial meetings before deciding to start the project. These meetings can be used to learn about prospective collaborators’ working styles and ambitions — and to get a sense of how well you ‘click’ on a social level. Usually, this will be enough to gain an idea of how well they live up to these three core characteristics.

Find out what the three traits are and read the blog in full on the Nature Careers Website –

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