Monday, 20 April 2020

The characteristics of an effective collaborative culture: No.3

A collaboration's rituals and routines will emphasise sharing with people, including and involving people, celebrating and rewarding people's contributions, championing a collaboration and its work, and interacting with people informally and face-to-face  

Recording and sharing the previously mentioned types of stories; appointing champions who promote and support a collaboration's work; celebrating not only success but also the people who contributed to it: these things will be regular high profile rituals that take place within a collaboration.

Most meetings and all high-profile conferences and events will set aside time and space for ritually celebrating diversity and inclusion. These ritual celebrations will be low church rather than high church: they will encourage participation and informality and the joyful expression of a shared belief in the power of including and involving the many rather than the few.

Day-to-day, collaborators will habitually use first names when introducing and addressing each other, eagerly meet face-to-face in the informal margins within and between formal meetings and events, happily give the benefit of the doubt, quickly offer a helping hand, and openly share and explore each other's ideas and mistakes (as well as each other's feelings, enthusiasms, intuitions and intentions).

In addition, collaborators will enthusiastically reach out and across to potential partners and other contributors who may be able to offer new insights, ideas and resources, etc.

To read about the other characteristics of an effective collaborative culture, click here.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

The characteristics of an effective collaborative culture: No.2

A collaboration's power will be distributed amongst the wider network of partners, and a collaboration's sources of power will be diverse

Power will be imbued in the network of partners; this network will be empowered and able to get things done and solve problems, and leaders will develop within and emerge from it. This process will encourage web networked rather than star networked power to develop: power and the ability to get things done will be spread throughout the majority of individuals and organisations in the network rather than focused upon one or two star players who pull the strings or to whom all network paths lead.

This webbed network of partners will pulse with diverse sources of power that can be tapped into as required. Partners possessing the power to broker, bridge divides and make trades; partners possessing the power of essential expertise, experience and skills (and the credibility to make others appreciate these things); partners possessing the power of the pioneering spirit (the risk takers, the creative and innovative); partners possessing feminine power (the empathetic, the intuitive and emotionally literate): all these people (and many others with differing sources of power) can step forward to take the lead and express their unique powers as and when beneficial to the collaboration.

Having said all this, the above webbed network of diversely powerful partners is eventually likely to coalesce around a hub or platform of key partners who can guide and lead the collaboration and provide the required stability and resources, etc.


This process of coalescing, however, will strengthen rather than weaken the networked, diverse and emergent nature of collaborative power rather than weaken it. This is because the collaborative network will push partners towards the platform and, where and when necessary, pull them away from it; the ebb and flow of the network sea will cast partners as leaders upon the platform and sweep them off as necessity dictates. The platform will become a dynamic and powerful manifestation of the power of the collaborative network.

To read about the other characteristics of an effective collaborative culture, click here.

Monday, 6 April 2020

The characteristics of an effective collaborative culture: No.1

1. Collaborators will capture and share many rich and diverse stories about people, key relationships and associated significant happenings

The following stories will be amongst those captured and shared:
  • Stories about the unexpected: the chance encounter that led to an important relationship; the unexpected contribution that proved immensely valuable; the outsider who surprisingly emerged to take the lead. 
  • Stories about taking risks and being speculative: the people who were brave enough to break taboos to form new relationships; the innovators who were willing to take leaps of faith to find new solutions. 
  • Stories about key turning points: the point at which partners began to trust each other and work together effectively; the moment of truth that acted as a catalyst for collaborative progress and success.
There will also be precautionary tales: tales about selfish partners who took and exploited; tales about villainous partners who bullied or sabotaged; tales about misunderstandings and conflicts caused by geographical or temporal separation; tales of secret discussions and deals done behind partners' backs; tales about assumption, prejudice, exclusion and eventual rebellion; tales about collaborations fading away.

To read about the other characteristics of an effective collaborative culture, click here.