The 9 Elements of Collaboration
Collaboration at its fullest means everyone agrees, is happy, and works toward a common goal, right? If you think that sort of collaboration exists, you’d be wrong. Let’s look at the nine elements of collaboration, some clear and some not so clear.
1. Goal – This element is very clear and one that’s hard to change once decided. If the goal is to build a better boat, increase customer satisfaction, or use more streamlined processes—that’s your goal and it’s the first step in collaboration.
2. Communicating – A group certainly has to be able to communicate effectively if they want to collaborate. This means allowing communication to flow from every side, and includes fostering great listening skills.
3. Reciprocity – This collaboration element brings in mutual acceptance without fear of reprisals or demeaning the giver of a collaborative idea. It often goes hand-in-hand with communication.
4. Collaboration Roles – While collaboration roles can determine a facilitator, they can also identify individual roles, including the ever-important, agreeing to disagree, yet continue on with the common goal.
5. Trust – If any one person of the collaborative group is of an autocratic nature, collaboration will be unsuccessful. All parties in any collaboration must trust one another and accept input at all levels.
6. Decision Powers – This key element of collaboration actually means “joint collaboration" and not just the facilitator or initiator of the collaboration remaining in charge of final decisions without considering the input of everyone. If you're collaborating on your own—you’re like the film director Elia Kazan.
7. Validation – The outcome of any collaboration is to meet the initial goal, right? If the collaborative team can’t find valid reasons to proceed or ways to get to the final goal, collaboration has failed.
8. Emotional Intelligence – One must consider the human element of collaboration and introduce some emotional intelligence techniques to ensure no individual’s feelings are damaged, they are prohibited from input, or ideas are laughed at or ignored.
9. Final Decisions – In order for a collaboration to be successful, final decisions must be clear, in writing, signed off on by everyone involved in the effort and finally monitored for success.