Though it’s not possible to foresee or discuss everything that we will encounter as we move forward, it is important to take the time to discuss the details regarding how we are going to move forward together, whose role it will be to do this or that, and how we will make decisions, anticipating both best- and worst-case scenarios.
Also crucial to the success of collaborations is communication: clear, open, timely, regular communication. Communication can be easy at the start but once the project or endeavour gets underway, communication can get more challenging. People can become very task and time focused and lose sight of the importance of the relationship. When communication begins to decrease in depth and frequency, the relationship, and therefore the project, could be put at risk.
When we get into a collaboration we think that, because both partners have a common goal, we hold the same interests and values as well. Yet we can both want to embark upon a project or initiative for different reasons, with different needs that we hope will be met through the collaboration. If we do not understand each other at that deeper, below-the-surface level, we may encounter increased tensions or difficulties along the way. Even when we do our due diligence and have clear understandings of each other’s needs, abilities, and experience, as well as limitations, we are still likely to encounter difficulties along the way. This is only natural in any creative, dynamic, multi-party endeavour.
The potential results of a strong, successful collaboration are achieving the desired outcomes of the project, a stronger relationship between the two (or more) partners, and having a more significant impact on the community.
“Corporate North America has suddenly awakened to the fact that when people work together they are more effective and creative than when they are set up to compete against each other.”
– From Power to Partnership – Creating the Future of Love, Work and Community by Alfonso Montuori & Isabella Conti