A successful collaborative network requires all aspects of the maintenance, program and collaborative services to be shared and the leadership of the network is no different.  The collaborative network must continuously work to encourage participation and retention of the partner members.  The network cannot be successful if there is a continuous churn and changing of partners.  In order to limit the churn and encourage participation and retention the network partners must encourage the participation of the members and also encourage the mentoring of new members.  These community activities will not help though if the value is not returned to members of the community.

A key ingredient to encouraging participation and retention of the members is a policy of shared leadership.  I do not mean leadership by committee, my suggestion is much different.  I think one key to encouraging the participation is allowing different partners to lead initiatives that are important to their interests.  This focus on initiative program leadership provides some key benefits;

  1. Allows the effort required to succeed in delivering initiatives to be shared and leveled across partners which reduces impact on any one partner.
  2. Allows partners to guide initiatives that bring them value to ensure their needs are met.
  3. Encourages participation by including and encouraging partners to step up and lead an initiative important to them.  This can be an especially powerful capacity that clearly demonstrates the commitment to collaboration.
  4. Demonstrates a commitment to collaboration through encouraging members to participate and lead initiatives.

The commitment to sharing and encouraging others members to lead initiatives is one important aspect to demonstrating the commitment to collaboration and sharing with members in the network.  This commitment is important to demonstrate because of the commitment to the collaborative network that it will generate.  It demonstrates to all members that the initial members of the collaborative network are serious in their commitment and that they understand that an open and shared leadership of the community will foster both commitment to the community and more active participation of all members of the community.  This demonstration of commitment is important because it builds relationships and demonstrates a high level of trust across the community members.

Collaboration and more importantly the success of the collaborative community is built on trust, sharing and participation of the members of the community.  Sharing the leadership of initiatives across community partners based on the expertise and the focus of value benefits demonstrates the commitment of all of the community participants to these principles.  The demonstration of these principles is important to both the maintenance and participation of current members along with the recruiting of new members to the community.


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?