Rewarding your collaboration improvement team can present some special challenges due to the make-up of the team being across organizations and most likely geographic locations.  It is important for the leaders across the collaboration partners to be aligned in the reward framework and the rewards themselves.  The improvement team will collapse quickly if they see that some are provided different rewards for different achievements.  There are so many more pieces and parts interacting across this improvement team that must be coordinated, and then you must take into account the cultural differences.  This is truly one endeavor that must be well thought out in order to succeed.  This is also one endeavor that you should start small to provide the opportunity to experiment and test your rewards program. 

An internal rewards program is easy to implement into one company or organization, it requires simply a desire and imagination to start.  The most important aspect of the rewards program is the recognition by peers and also by the leadership of the company or organization.  When you expand that rewards program across partner companies and organizations the importance of recognition does not change, however, the range, or the environment of the recognition changes.  It is important to recognize and take into account this expansion of recognition to account for this expansion of recognition.  Due to the nature of the team, which is made up of members across organizations, companies and locations, the recognition must be coordinated and communicated across the partners to provide a cohesive rewards program. 

The communication and coordination across companies and organizations is critical to the success of the rewards program.  I would argue that the rewards program is critical to the commitment and therefore the success of your collaboration improvement team.  Like most other organizational success factors, this is not rocket science, it is a series of seemingly simple acts and practices that all come together to deliver success to your partnerships.  All that said, these seemingly simple acts can quickly bring problems if you do not pay attention and plan for them.  These seemingly simple acts take on a new level of complexity when they are spread across organizations, companies and geographic locations.  This is why there is an increase in communications required across these barriers.

The communication aspect will increase the level of effort required of the leadership team.  This requires essentially a startup investment from leadership in the form of time to perform the communication and coordinate the programs across the barriers.  This again is another seemingly simple activity that can cause the improvement program to fail.  The point that makes this communication requirement easy to overlook, or more accurately to simply stop performing, is that human nature tends to encourage people to assume that they will communicate, I will call them later, I will send an email at the end of the day, etc.  These are the types of tasks that while they are important to perform on a regular schedule for the long term, they will not cause immediate failure if you miss one or two executions.  These are the types of tasks that I find you must schedule on a recurring appointment to basis as a reminder.

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?