Collaboration – Part II

Collaboration often seems like a simple and straightforward process, but in practice it is anything but. This month, particularly in light of all the chaos that is swirling around the international political stage currently, I wanted to continue my exploration of the fundamental aspects of collaboration.

There are four specific areas that must be consciously considered in order to help address issues around the collaborative process. These can be referred to as the 4 C’s of Collaboration:

1. Common Goal

  • Do collaborators understand the shared objectives and their roles when they work as a group or on a team?
  • Is there a shared sense of purpose and alignment to the end goal?

2. Contributions

  • Are the talents and skills of everyone in the group leveraged?
  • Are roles and responsibilities that play to individual strengths assigned?
  • Are diverse points of view solicited and welcome?
  • How is feedback used to improve collaboration?
  • How are individual contributions and individuals’ ability to work as a team assessed?
  • Is there psychological safety in the group?

3. Compromise–Consensus

  • Do collaborators know how to compromise and reach consensus?
  • Is the decision making process clear?
  • If no compromise or consensus is reached, who makes the ultimate decision?

4. Creative, Collaborative Culture

  • Do collaborators have opportunities to share constructive feedback?
  • Does the group have strategies to make sure everyone contributes – without some people dominating or others being left out?
  • Is there a culture of creative collaboration – an environment in which people respect one another’s ideas and nurture creative expression?
  • How is conflict handled? Are disagreements handled respectfully and with candour?

Understanding and asking the questions above is a productive first step in the pursuit of building an effective and collaborative team or organisation (or government!). Do you or your organisation have a practical template to follow when a collaboration process is kicking off or when issues crop up along the way?

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