Accounting and Law Firms in Australia – 5 Powerful Collaboration Tips

Collaboration – The journey to delivering great outcomes for everyone.

Tom Wilson from Adama Digital interviews Alec Blacklaw, Blacklaw Advisory and Area Representative for MSI Global Alliance.


5 tips to collaborate in an increasingly ‘online’ world.

In an increasingly connected world, collaboration presents a tremendous opportunity to accelerate the achievement of individual and business success. Established Law and Accounting firms in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji understand the opportunity in the way individuals and companies work together, mitigate risk for clients in their quest for greater engagement, effective delivery of outcomes that create impact and options for a variety of stakeholders.

Some believe that it’s harder to develop trust now than it ever has been; but hear from Alec Blacklaw, on how you can achieve greater returns through more effective collaboration and process that will improve your success and address any concerns you may have.

Alec confirms that up to 80% of CEO’s and family business owners agree that successful collaboration is crucial for their success, increasingly more so in this highly digital world in which we live,  yet only 25% rated themselves as effective.

Alec shares the five most powerful tips for developing trust and achieving successful collaboration in this short interview. We’ll be releasing the full-length interview in the next post.

Video – Top 5 Tips for Collaboration


Alec has an impressive and well-respected reputation for facilitating collaboration in not just Accounting and Law Firms in Australia, but for a whole range of businesses in a variety of industries. So, we’ve reached out to him to ask, “what is real collaboration – and how do you successfully utilise collaboration to create something special?”

What does Collaboration mean? Being willing and able to work together to create better solutions rather than by working alone. We are more likely to do this when we have developed increasing levels of trust through our moments of connection.

We go on to explore that on the basis we agree that successful collaboration yields great results, what is it that stops us from collaborating even more?

From Alec’s tips, you can see that collaboration doesn’t have to be overly complicated. In fact, it normally comes down to 5 key principals. When followed – you’re set to not only survive but THRIVE in an increasingly interconnected & digital world.

Let’s explore the 5 powerful tips

Tip 1: Clarity of expectations from the beginning

It’s critical that you are upfront and definitive about what outcomes you expect from those you are collaborating with. Each party needs to be really clear about their expectations from the outset, so that everyone truly understands each other’s objectives, how we will measure success and importantly, understand the value this will deliver for each party.

Quite often collaboration begins with a desire to “give first” and ask, “how can I help you?” as you’ll hear Alec mention in the full-length interview (coming in part 2). If you’re looking to receive excellent results, or grow your business, then you must be prepared to help others first.

Tip 2: Define your objectives and what you really want to achieve

If it’s not clear what you want from a business relationship with someone, then how can you possibly measure success? The truth is – this is often the reason people fail to collaborate effectively.

Quite often the parties are not clear of what each really wants and what the priority or non-negotiable is. Be clear about your multiple objectives, and each other’s role in the collaboration process, define important timelines and how you will work together.

Its helpful to be as specific as possible when setting out your objectives. There are usually a number of quantitative and qualitative goals, so it helps to design a process for measuring those outcomes. Timely and honest communication will be vital for your mutual success with established feedback channels and format agreed upfront so that you can take any corrective action promptly.

Tip 3: Agree on your measures of success

Once you have clear expectations, defined objectives and a way to measure outcomes – it’s critical that each party has a clear understanding of what success will look like for all parties involved.

Success will mean different things to different people so again its best to have absolute clarity of what success looks like and most importantly what success will allow each of the parties to do. Flesh this out including the emotive measures and benefits.

Don’t underestimate the importance of feelings in this process. Quite often the feelings that you have when you achieve something better, through effective collaboration, is the most important part. That is, the outcome from the collaboration makes you feel better- it alleviates fear or anxiety, provides peace of mind, you feel safe, happier and more confident – you have a feeling of greater trust.

Tip 4: Make sure you deliver loads of value

Begin with the end in mind. What value do you want to deliver and what will the customer experience? Know and agree on this upfront before you get started.

Focus on delivering loads of value for the client or to a wide range of “consumers.”  Think clearly of what the collaboration delivers in terms of loads of value through the improved solution, removal of pain, friction and where the customer experience is much improved.  Ask yourself “What do they now receive, enjoy (and value) as a result of our collaboration?”

The collaboration will be measurable and can be referenced back to the objectives of each party. When everyone is focussed on delivering loads of value –  it inspires the same action and energy in others.

Momentum will build and the power of this creative energy and expertise drives further collaboration and together we are able to provide greater service and achieve more.

Tip 5: Leave fear at the front gate. Take small steps and build moments of connection

In the full-length interview with Alec (coming soon) he explains how in his work with helping businesses achieve the results they desire, the most prevalent factor he sees holding people back from collaboration is fear.

What holds people back is a mindset of “What if they don’t deliver?”, “What if I end up giving all the value and they don’t?”, “What will be the impact on my reputation if it doesn’t go well?”

The problem with fear-based thinking is that we don’t get started. We consume loads of energy on worrying about what might go wrong instead of focussing our energy on creating the framework for our mutual success. To develop safeguards to mitigate risk and to drive the creative solution-based thinking through our collaboration to create better outcomes for all.

We need to take the first step forward, have some courage and begin the process. Once you have done a level of due diligence on the person or organisation and have built some trust with them  – then just get started. Go back to Tip #1…

See the live interview with Tom Wilson from Adama Digital interviewing Alec Blacklaw of Blacklaw Advisory on Alec’s top 5 tips to inspire successful collaboration below.

Summary: Collaboration for Accounting and Law Firms in Australia

In Alec’s work with Accounting and Law Firms in Australia – he’s been able to help achieve some outstanding results with the 5 key principles of collaboration outlined in this article and video.

Alec is a Business Improvement Specialist at Blacklaw Advisory and an Area Representative of the MSI Global Alliance for Australia and New Zealand.

With a successful track record over more than 25 years, MSI is a global association of over 250 independent legal and accounting firms in more than 100 countries. Our Accounting and Law firms in Australia, NZ and Fiji are built on high levels of trust and successful collaboration between its members so that we help our clients locally, nationally and across the globe.

Contact MSI today if you’re ever thinking of expanding your business across states or borders.

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