The collaborative guidelines support can be broken into two phases;  initial development and then on-going support.  Your collaborative guidelines must start from the perspective of the initial network members.  This is your opportunity to begin the collaborative process by developing the guidelines with your network partners.  The result of these initial efforts will be documented and agreed guidelines to provide the framework for the partners to work together.  The on-going support activities will then provide the continuing review and improvements to the guidelines based on the changing priorities of the network, the partners and the customers along with the changing members of the network. 

Take this opportunity when starting your collaborative network to collect and document member objectives, values and reasons for joining the network.  This provides a great opportunity to not only understand member objectives and values but also to build the relationships that will stabilize and support the collaborative network going forward.  This is where you will first be given the opportunity to develop the partnerships that will support and carry your network forward to sustainable, long term success.  This initial opportunity provides a chance to also identify and embrace community leaders.  These leaders are also important to drive the community forward to success. 

The collaborative community requires that leadership be shared and agreed upon, you cannot simply start a community with a pre-ordained leader.  Community members must be given the opportunity and then encouraged to provide guidance and leadership in managing the community.  The most important first step in identification of leaders is communication and the most important action in this communication is the ability to listen and then encourage participation.  The leaders of the community will be the members that are the best listeners and that encourage participation of all of the members.  I think that encouraging participation is a key trait of successful collaborative leaders.

This participation encouragement builds the community and one of the results of building a strong community is the value and benefits returned to the community as a whole.  The strength and value returned to the community then provide the reason and even the need to grow the community partner network to support the new and changing demands of the community customers.  This cycle of growth depends on the participation of the community and then the participation of the community depends a great deal on the guidelines and encouragement of the community members.  This nature of collaboration and participation requires leaders to step up from the members based on their ability to encourage participation.  This participation then provides the support required to maintain robust and beneficial guidelines.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

ECommerce will have wide ranging impacts on both the retail and manufacturing sectors.  How can you focus these abilities to improve the consumer's experience?  Improving the consumer’s experience will require a re-evaluation of the sales channels, the manufacturing channels and practices and the supply chain channels and practices from the raw materials to the consumers’ homes.  In order to ensure and maintain success in this new reality you must harness the tools and capabilities in many new areas.  How can you support these continuously changing requirements?