As I read about and research the subject of collaborative and partnership working two words crop up time and time again: 'Clean up!'
Whether it be a request for people to work together to clean up a wiki page, service, system or process, or physically clean up a neighbourhood, be that of crime and/or garbage, the same words crop up again and again and again.
The cry 'clean up' appeals to a strong and instinctive urge we all have to band together and help out when something important to us is in need of care and attention.
Savvy partnerships looking to gain support and raise their profile know this. Rather than making a general 'call to action' they make a specific 'call to clean up', focusing their request upon a specific area in need of attention: the previously mentioned wiki page in need of urgent editing; a crucial service delivery system; a law in need of urgent updating and revision; a specific part of town that is in social and/or environmental decline.
A particularly interesting 'call to clean up' occurred during the public collaboration to create an Australian Bill of Rights. Members of the public were invited via a wiki to contribute their ideas about what should be included in such a Bill. As you can imagine, these were many and diverse and the time came when all the contributions needed to be edited and made legally compliant. A call went out to members of the Australian legal community to help out and 'clean up'. Enough responded to move the project forwards.
If the call to clean up is sufficiently focused and meaningful to those it is aimed at there will be a response. They will come; they will respond to an ancient need set deep within their DNA to band together and help out in times of difficulty, need or threat (or they might just be interested in helping out, doing what others are doing and seeing what develops).
So, what specific 'calls to clean up' could your collaboration make? Which ones would be most meaningful to those you are trying to attract? When would be the best times to make your calls? When would they be most likely to act as catalysts for your partnership's development and progress?
Don't call for action; call for a clean up!
For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition