Collaboration tools is a very important topic and it merits revisiting and revising periodically.  I’ve been discussing organizational tools that will help to focus, measure and direct the activities of the organization and the collaborative network.  These tools are all critical to the on going success and value of the partnership network.  These tools provide the means and the methods to measure results which is critical to the support of the network from leadership.  I’ve also discussed using these tools to overcome the let down that occurs when the newness wears off, I called it the ‘new car smell’.  These tools and methods are important for maintaining the value and continuing to identify new means to derive value from the network.  There is one additional tools that I would have to say is truly critical to the initial and continued success of the collaborative network and probably the most powerful collaboration tool is attitudinal and behavioural not technical and procedural.  This tool already lies within your people and must simply be directed and encouraged.--- When working with others your collaborative partners must learn not to ‘Compromise’ but to ‘Synergise’. (From Covey).

It comes off sounding contrite but the power of a ‘Synergistic Team’, or to rephrase for this discussion the power of a ‘Collaborative Team’ lies in the word TEAM; Together. Everybody. Achieves More.  I know that everyone’s heard this before and I also know that it comes across a little smarmy but the concept is based in fact, the team, acting as a team and collaborating, can achieve much more than the total of the individuals.  I also think that this concept provides the initial ‘new car smell’ and the continuing underlying drive to continue to collaborate and reach new heights. 

There is a bit of relationship type ‘mathematics’ that can be used in describing collaborative behaviour and demonstrate the potential through a comparison of compromise and synergise, or collaboration.

  • Compromise - Each of the partners involved in this type of relationship or partnership must give up some of their original ideas/positions in order to achieve a common agreement. In other words, in this model everyone loses something together - ‘1 + 1 = 1½’
  • Synergise, or Collaborate - Each of the partners involved in this type of relationship work together to create a better idea, position, or widget than any of one of their individual original ideas. In other word, in this model everyone creates something together - ‘1 + 1 = 3’ or better yet a greater number, this is where the model really can deliver amazing results where ‘1 + 1 = 11’.

The exact tools used in the synergistic or collaborative mode are of secondary importance to the mode itself. The team will end up internalizing and changing the tools to their own benefit.

Sometimes the collaborative mode requires a recharging effort in order to reinforce the importance of the team and collaborating and that is what the organizational tools can and will provide.  They can provide the support to get over the hump of recharging.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

How do you identify and address new opportunities in your current business market?  Have you ever tried to develop a SWOT focused on new business opportunities or new markets  to evaluate the fit for partnership and as a means to address and meet new opportunities?  Do you regularly develop a SWOT analysis to evaluate your internal capabilities and needs to support new business and market opportunities?