The concept of collaboration, as we use it, goes beyond communication, cooperation and coordination. As its Latin roots -com and laborare- indicate, it means “to work together.” It is a mutually beneficial relationship between two or more parties who work toward a common goal by sharing responsibility, authority and accountability for achieving results.
This is the collaborative premise: If you bring the appropriate people together in constructive ways with good information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organization or community.
IMPORTANT FACTORSCollaboration is a credible, open process. People must believe the following:
- This time and effort will make a difference.
- The process is not being manipulated behind the scenes.
- All ideas will come to the surface.
- People will talk things over in a rational way
- Something concrete will happen.
First, build trust:
- Explore informally.
- Create ownership.
- Celebrate successes.
- Create impelling experiences.
- Guard the process.
- Use effective facilitation.
- Practice patience.
- Lead as a peer problem solver.
KEYS TO COLLABORATION
- Good timing/clear need
- Strong stakeholder groups
- Broad-based involvement
- Credible, open process
- Involvement of high-level, visible leaders
- Overcoming mistrust/skepticism
- Strong process leadership
- Celebrating interim successes