Building commitment to your collaborative partnership across your partner members is such a critical ingredient to the success of your partnership that I feel it is critical to continue to highlight the importance.  Collaboration has quickly become one of the most important topics in business circles.  It seems that lately you can’t visit a website, open a business magazine, browse a professional network without encountering multiple references to collaboration and the importance of the partners in your network.  All of these references highlight the importance of collaboration in your global business interactions.  I completely agree with the level of importance placed on collaboration and believe further that a critical ingredient to the success of any collaborative partnership is the commitment of the partners.

In order to develop and grow a successful collaborative partnership I believe that you must treat the partnership as a living thing that requires nurturing.  This can be done through encouraging and engaging the your partners to participate.  Your business collaborative partnership is another form of social network and requires the same type of participation from the partner members as other social networks in order to grow and prosper.  There are some differences, obviously, between your business collaborative network and a social network.  The key difference is the focus on delivery for your business collaborative network.

What I mean by a focus on delivery is that your business collaborative partnership comes together with a goal of improving the capabilities and increasing value for all partners and this means that your interactions will focus on these values and capability delivery.  You must take this into account with your interactions and working relationships with your partners.  One thing that I find helps to maintain this viewpoint is that you should remember that in your collaborative partnership you and your company is not the center of the universe.  In fact it is important to remember in your dealings that everyone in the partnership is just as important in their ‘universe’ as you are in yours.  This, I think, is the key reason why you must focus on encouraging participation of the members.

Partner engagement in collaboration is the key to achieving the value and capability improvements.  Partner engagement requires constant focus along with give and take to ensure the value is delivered.  Finally, partner engagement requires open and honest communication across and between all participant partners to ensure the continued participation.  I think that one of the best methods to encourage participation of the partners is to encourage them to lead committees or practice centers that can benefit from their experience.  Give the partners the opportunity to lead in their specialties and their commitment to the partnership will increase.  Its human nature for people to want to share their expertise and be perceived as a leader or a specialist and this provides them the opportunity to shine.  Take advantage of this trait and social behavior to increase the commitment and value of the partnership.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have you discussed efficiencies with your collaborative partners?  What kind of tricks do you practice when you are multi-tasking?  How does technology impact your ability to mutli-task?  How does the blurring of the professional and personal aspects impact your life?