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Wednesday 28 November 2018

Secrets of successful collaboration: 3. mix it up

Mixing it up is another way of increasing the inclusivity of a collaboration. It also helps realise some other benefits of inclusiveness: the freshening-up of perceptions and approaches and the enhancement of creativity and innovation.

This mixing-up and freshening can be built into a collaboration's systems and structures by using matrix management

Matrix management creates teams and management structures that bring together people from different functions and specialisms from across an organisation or organisations within a collaborative initiative.

Within a collaboration, the matrix approach is certain to happen (at least to some extent) by default. However, the natural mixing of partners within a collaboration does not automatically guarantee the best possible mix of people from multiple levels and disciplines from across organisations; it will not address existing relationship blind spots, for example. For the best mix, there needs to be intention and design: intention and design that focuses upon ensuring habitually excluded and potentially valuable partners are given the opportunity to become appropriately involved in a collaboration's work. 

Taking steps to avoid the "Carousel Syndrome" can also help a collaboration "mix it up". This syndrome appears when a collaboration forms the habit of calling upon the same old faces over and over and over again.  Indeed, it is often not confined to individual collaborative initiatives: it spreads easily across multiple collaborative initiatives covering multiple issues; the same old faces become tagged with the search words "collaboration" or "partnership" or "joined-up working" and come round time and time again upon local, regional and national collaborative merry-go-rounds. Over time, the same old faces repeating the same old things will spiral a collaboration towards the depths of languid mediocrity.  

The Carousel Syndrome can be avoided by creating the previously mentioned "easy access points" and arranging the previously mentioned "scouting meetings". Additionally, a collaboration can minimise the negative effects of the Carousel Syndrome (and freshen-up its thinking and approaches) by compiling and regularly dipping into a wide-ranging and frequently updated database of potential partners and other contributors.

To read the full post (and read more about "easy access points" and "scouting meeting") click here

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