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Tuesday 27 November 2018

Secrets of successful collaboration: 2. reach in

Inclusiveness is about not only reaching out but also reaching in: reaching deep into a collaboration and its partners' parent organisations.

Ensure that all levels of a collaboration and all levels of partners' parent organisations are aware of a collaboration's work and have appropriate opportunities to comment and become involved. Strongly encourage staff at all levels of partners' organisations to collaborate with those above and/or below them and with their peer groups and opposite numbers within partner organisations. This will help ensure a collaboration does not become marginalised and eventually trapped within the cracks and spaces between partners' organisations, bereft of understanding and support and uncomfortably squeezed for time and resources.

Whenever a team is tasked with encouraging others to collaborate, check it is collaborating well within itself; ensure the team is modelling effective collaborative working to those it is seeking to influence. Is it sharing knowledge, insights and experience between team members? Are team members given opportunities to comment on and add value to each other's work? 

Once again, identifying and addressing relationship blind spots can help ensure a collaboration effectively reaches into and engages with itself and its partners' parent organisations. Are any of a collaboration's (or partners' parent organisations') people repeatedly overlooked or forgotten? Are they repeatedly excluded from meetings and other events? Are these people from particular organisational levels or professions? Or are they from specialisms that are perceived (often incorrectly) as isolated from the mainstream of a collaboration's or partners' organisations' activities.

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