The latest version of my book Achieving Collaborative Success is now freely available to read and download. Click on my picture to get it.

Friday 21 December 2012

Encouraging and developing emergent leadership

Encouraging and developing emergent leadership advantageous to a partnership
One of the key responsibilities of a partnership is to spot, encourage and develop emergent leadership. It is a common trait of partnerships that as their work develops so too do the partners themselves. Those that perhaps started on the fringes of a partnership can begin to exhibit a particular affinity, passion, or expertise for a specific area of the partnership’s work. Once identified, such individuals or organisations need to be encouraged further into the partnership to take up leadership roles consistent with their skills, abilities, motivations and passions.

These emergent leaders must be supported with appropriate training, development and other needed resources, but they also need careful management. Emergent leaders are only advantageous to a partnership if the activities they undertake and the results they achieve are consistent with its purpose and goals, so plenty of dialogue needs to take place between the partnership and its emergent leaders to ensure a shared understanding of and commitment to the activities and results required.

For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition

Friday 14 December 2012

Identifying and managing the stakeholders of your partnership

Here is a tool to help you identify and manage the stakeholders of your partnership:

Stage 1

Now that you have identified your major partners you need to think more widely and consider all those people and organisations affected by your partnership.

What people/organisations do you need as a resource?

What people/organisations are affected by your partnership?

What people/organisations are on the sidelines but have an interest?

What people/organisations feel they have a right to be involved?

Stage 2

Now think more deeply about your stakeholders. Divide your stakeholders into three areas, those in the Public, Private and Voluntary Sectors. Then consider each stakeholder against the following questions:

Who wants to see the partnership succeed?

Who wants the partnership to fail?

Who is offering the partnership support?

Whose support is necessary for the partnership to succeed?

Who is offering the partnership resources?

Whose success does the partnership affect?                                           

Whose success affects the partnership?

Who benefits from the partnership’s work?  

Who might be damaged by the work of the partnership?
Stage 3: The power catgories - now that you have identified your stakeholders and considered them against the above questions, place them within what you consider to be the most appropriate categories below:
Low interest and low power – you need only put minimal effort into keeping these stakeholders on board, but do not forget them entirely.
High interest and low power – you need to actively keep these people informed, as their interest will probably prove useful to the partnership at some point.
Low interest and high power – it is important to keep these people satisfied. Even though they have low interest this could change if they are ignored, irritated or angered. 
High interest and high power – these people are key to your partnership. If they are not already, they may need to be partners in the initiative. It is important to keep these people informed, satisfied, and appropriately involved.
When you have completed the above process go back to your initial list of major partners and review it. Are there any stakeholders that on reflection should be invited to join the partnership?

Thursday 29 November 2012

Bite-size pieces: think PMI

When evaluating the on-going work of a partnership encourage people to explore what has been positive about its work, what the minuses have been and what has been interesting. Most of us are used to thinking in a binary way, looking only for the positives and minuses in a situation and then making decisions about how to maximise the one and minimise the other. The PMI technique (developed by Edward de Bono) encourages people to think about the day-to-day activities of a partnership in an additional way. What aspects are interesting or unique about a partnership’s activities and results? What can we learn from these and how can we make use of them?

From Sleeping with the Enemy - Achieving Collaborative Success
For more details click here.

Friday 9 November 2012

Bite-size pieces: use insider/outsider teams

Use 'insider/outsider teams' to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your partnership

When evaluating the processes and results of a partnership and seeking to improve them, it is important to be open to differing and challenging opinions about what is or is not effective.

One simple approach that encourages such openness is the use of insider/outsider teams. An insider/outsider team consists of at least two people. One person comes from within the partnership being evaluated and the other comes from outside of it, perhaps from another partnership or organisation that is doing similar work. Both people work together to analyse and evaluate the work of the partnership, acknowledging and using the differing perspectives they bring to the task.

Obviously, the evaluation could be reciprocal, the two people swapping insider/outsider roles and evaluating each other’s organisations or partnerships.

From Sleeping with the Enemy - Achieving Collaborative Success:
For more details click here.

Friday 19 October 2012

The place time continuum of communication

Each partnership is different, with its own problems and goals and a unique mix of partners and relationships through which it seeks to address them.

Key to how effectively your partnership achieves its goals is its approach to communication. If your partnership thinks carefully about how it communicates with its various partners and stakeholders, tailoring its approach to its specific context and the needs of all involved, it is more likely to achieve success. 

The following 'Place/Time Continuum' of communication can help your partnership analyse its approach to communication and create a communication strategy suited to its (and its partners' and stakeholders') needs:

  • Same time and same place: face to face communication and meetings, etc.
  • Same time and different place: telephone calls, conference calls, video conferencing, Internet chat, etc.
  • Different time and same place: whiteboards, flip charts, notice boards, etc.
  • Different time and different place: memos, letters, reports, e-mail, etc.

What is the current mix and balance of your partnership's approach to communication? Does it meet the needs of partners and stakeholders? Do some partners find certain modes of communication more difficult than others? Do partner and stakeholder circumstances and environments make some types of communication problematical? Which types of communications, or mix of communications, would acknowledge these circumstances most effectively? Which types of communication would be most attractive and accessible to your partners and stakeholders?

By explicitly analysing and discussing your partnership's approaches to communication, agreeing how they could be enhanced and then creating a jointly owned communication strategy, your partnership will take a significant step towards enhancing its effectiveness and achieving its goals.

Sunday 30 September 2012

Bite-size pieces: SOAR!

Make your partnerships SOAR!

Build the confidence and effectiveness of your partnership by identifying and building upon its strengths and accomplishments. 

The SOAR Model can help you do this:

SOAR stands for Strengths, Opportunities, Appreciations and Results.

To use SOAR focus a partnership's discussions upon the following types of questions:

  • What strengths have been demonstrated by a partnership and how can they be maximised?
  • What opportunities have been created by a partnership’s activities and how can they be exploited fully?
  • What has been appreciated about the way a partnership has gone about its work? This differs from those things identified under strengths by being qualitative and subjective rather than quantitative and objective. It is about capturing the positive opinions and feedback that are sometimes taken for granted and/or only partially expressed. For example, 'appreciations' could take the form of passing comments about the positive, welcoming and informed approach of the frontline staff who answer day-to-day queries from the partnership's customers and stakeholders. Once fully recognised and acknowledged, these aspects can be exploited to a partnership's advantage. (Frontline staff could perhaps be asked to play an enhanced role in developing relationships with key stakeholders and in encouraging them to support or take part in future initiatives and events.)
  • What results have been achieved by a partnership and how can they be built upon. Also, how can a partnership ensure that it gets credit for them?

From Sleeping with the Enemy - Achieving Collaborative Success:
For more details click here.