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Monday 4 March 2019

Secrets of successful collaboration: 13. make space for and prioritise "in the same space" face-to-face interaction

Collaborations will acknowledge the importance of "in the same space" face-to-face interaction and prioritise it. They will ensure that it happens early on within different and informal spaces (and in each partner's space), and they will ensure that it continues regularly throughout their lifetimes.

Collaborations will place a high value upon "in the same space" face-to-face interaction because they know that their progress and ability to achieve goals will depend first and foremost upon the relationships and trust formed between individuals.

Collaborations will also recognise that they are formed of multiple social spaces (formal spaces, informal spaces, each partner's space, and their shared working spaces in the office and in the field) and that meeting regularly within these differing spaces will help partners gain an enhanced understanding of not only the collaboration and its work but also each other's contexts, perspectives, pressures and priorities. This enhanced understanding, together with the recognition that partners are willing and able to visit each other's space and invest time and effort within it, will strengthen the relationships and trust between partners.

Lastly, collaborations will accept the sometimes significant cost of prioritising "in the same space" face-to-face interaction because it is an investment in creating the enhanced relationships and trust that are the foundations of superior collaborative performance. ICT will, of course, be used to manage these costs: some meetings and communications, because of time and resource constraints and practicality, will always need to be done virtually and online. ICT will not, however, be allowed to replace human interaction simply because it is relatively inexpensive. Collaborations will always be mindful of the mutual face validity (the personal credibility and trust derived from spending time in the proximity of others) that human interaction enables.

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