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 1 October 2021

Here is a great resource for identifying, encouraging and developing collaborative relationships


Collaboration is, at its heart, all about developing effective relationships between people from diverse backgrounds, communities and organisations, etc.

The "Relationship Project" offers great resources that will help you achieve this.

Click here to go to the project's website, where you will find resources that will help you do the following:

  • Map existing relationships and enhance their effectiveness.
  • Identify and develop new and potentially valuable relationships.
  • Support and encourage the roles and behaviours that are essential for developing and sustaining effective relationships.
  • Learn from others' experiences of developing and sustaining effective relationships.        

As a supplement to the above, I have written about the specific characteristics of the relationships that are most likely to underpin successful collaborative working. You can find out about these by clicking here    

Monday 26 April 2021

Five useful collaborative principles from cross-cultural collaboration in New Zealand

Here is a very useful article about cross-cultural collaboration in New Zealand:

“Koe wai hoki koe?!”, or “Who are you?!”: Issues of trust in cross‐cultural collaborative research (

The article is useful for two reasons: firstly, the collaboration it describes (between two very different cultures with an often problematic history) accentuates not only the difficulties associated with challenging collaborations but also the principles that need to be applied to overcome these difficulties; secondly, the principles identified can, I believe, be applied within many collaborative contexts.

For me, the principles that stand out as particularly important and widely applicable are as follows:

  • Thoughtfully and considerately using creative tools and approaches to encourage dialogue and participation. 
  • Continuously seeking to build relationships with people from diverse backgrounds to gain access to and benefit from often uniquely valuable knowledge, experiences and perspectives.
  • Developing the open-mindedness and humility required to learn from others.
  • Giving up control: allowing yourself to be led by someone else, and stepping aside so someone can express their own way of knowing and use their own way of doing whilst working within their own culture and environment.
  • Working with and adapting to the shifting temporal sands of collaboration: realising that who has to have humility, who has to give up control, and who has to stand aside to allow others to work with and from within their own cultures will alter with the changing needs and contexts of evolving collaboration.                     

(Read the article for examples of how the above principles can be applied.)  

Although some collaborations will not be so obviously challenging as the one described in the article, and many collaborations will possess different or subtly hidden challenges that are no less problematical, I believe that all collaborations that bring together partners from diverse backgrounds to address shared issues and problems will benefit significantly from discovering ways to apply the above principles.                 

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Collaboration can be looked at through many lenses, each lens revealing new insights

   A couple of lenses that I have looked at collaboration through are time and relationships. You can read about the insights revealed through these lenses by clicking on the previous links or by reading my book Achieving Collaborative Success.

  Timo J√§rvensivu looks at collaboration through the lens of networks and networking. Doing so reveals additional insights. Amongst these are the everchanging nature of networks (and consequently collaborations) and networks' need for flexible and creative management from the inside reaching out. To find out more about these and the other insights revealed, read Timo's book Managing (in) Networks.    


Sunday 21 February 2021

Some practical approaches for encouraging and developing dialogue

Here is a link to some practical approaches for encouraging and developing effective dialogue between partners:

Dialogue: practical approaches for encouraging and developing it

The link takes you to a free chapter from Timo J√§rvensivu's book Managing (in) Networks: Learning, Working and Leading Together

As Timo's chapter makes clear, dialogue emphasises "listening to understand", which encourages people to travel to the centre of issues and discover uncomfortably challenging facts and previously unspoken assumptions. "Listening to understand" discourages conversations where people are tempted to debate around issues and seek conveniently supportive facts and clearly victorious arguments.

When working in collaboration, the knowledge gained by engaging in dialogue rather than debate often leads to superior achievements. This is because dialogue encourages people to make a decision or take an action based upon realism and the confidence that they have considered all sides rather than upon idealism and the hope that they have backed the right side.   



Thursday 11 February 2021

Enhance collaboration by mapping informal networks and balancing formality with informality


Here is an article from the Harvard Business Review (by David Krackhardt and Jeffrey R. Hanson) that shows how mapping informal networks can improve an organisation's efficiency and effectiveness:

Informal Networks: The Company Behind the Chart

Collaborations between organisations will also benefit from this approach. By mapping informal advice, trust and communication networks, partners will uncover informal but significant relationship patterns that can then be analysed and leveraged to enhance day-to-day collaborative working.

Mapping informal networks will help redress the widespread bias toward formality that is built into the culture and fabric of many collaborations, especially if done alongside the approaches given here.