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Monday 18 March 2019

Secrets of successful collaboration: 15. focus on pairs and keep teams small

As well as focusing upon developing their individuals and teams, collaborations will focus upon developing pair-based relationships. These relationships will be encouraged within collaborations and with others from elsewhere (the latter helping to enhance inclusivity). This will be done through coaching, mentoring, using paired insider/outsider evaluation teams, and pairing with those who have similar or complementary roles in partners' organisations.

Focusing upon pairs, the space between individuals and teams, will help people get to know each other and build mutual trust. This foundation of personal familiarity and trust will make collaborations' internal and external relationships resilient and flexible enough to respond quickly and effectively to changing priorities and unexpected challenges.

Once these paired relationships have matured sufficiently, they may combine to form small decision-making teams. Because of their firm foundations of trust, these teams are likely to be very effective; team members will feel able to discuss tough topics and make difficult decisions, confident of their colleagues' support and follow through re. help and promised resources.

Additionally, well developed pair-based relationships with external people and organisations will enable collaborations to take advantage of the Inverted TARDIS Principle. Whilst remaining small on the inside (in terms of people, structure and systems, etc.), collaborations can use these relationships (especially those with influential people) to become large on the outside (in terms of significant influence and reach sectorially, vocationally, professionally, etc.).

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