In order to ensure the success of collaboration commitment you must implement and nurture a process.  This process must take into account the objectives to build the partnership and encourage the delivery of mutual benefits and objectives of the partnership.  This process must also encourage and support the long term goals and objectives and growth of the partnership.  Based on  all of these objectives and requirements I suggest that the process that supports them all is a continuous improvement process.  This process will formalize the participation of all levels of the partner organizations along with providing a robust framework to identify and develop the objectives that will bring value to the partner organizations.

A continuous improvement program provides the framework that will encourage participation of both internal and external partners.  This framework includes the tools and procedures that provide the means to execute a repeatable process and these same procedures provide the means to encourage the participation of the members.  This framework of ‘plan, do and review’ is nothing new, I’m not suggesting that you should implement some complicated process that will be difficult to maintain, no I’m suggesting that you implement a tried and true process that has been proven to be successful over and over again.  Implementation of a continuous improvement program across your collaborative partnerships provides the two key ingredients to the success of the collaborative partnerships; a means to encourage, measure and obtain value from the collaboration and second it provides the comfort factor of a process that is understood and probably practiced by many of the partners.

Remember that in previous discussions I focused on the importance of participation and commitment?  The continuous improvement program provides this framework to encourage the participation and the results of the continuous improvement initiatives provide the results that will encourage the commitment of the participants.  There is one additional piece to the puzzle that I suggest as a requirement to ensure the participation and commitment of the continuous improvement team members; an experienced continuous improvement program facilitator.  This facilitator will ensure that the procedures necessary for a successful continuous improvement program are introduced to the team.  The follow through of the enforcement and the monitoring of the procedures until they are second nature of the team will ensure the long term success of the program.

A second benefit and contributing factor to the participation and the commitment of all levels of the partnerships is that the continuous improvement program concept is an industry accepted and encouraged methodology.  This will tend to increase the comfort and acceptance of the senior leadership of the partner organizations and this acceptance of the senior leadership provides the first ingredient to encouraging the participation and commitment of the front line employees. 

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have your started or are you in the midst of an institutional change initiative?  What are the key traits you have identified as required to support the initiative?  Have you contemplated the name or phrase for the person leading your initiative?