Monday, 19 January 2009

Collaboration Health Checks - Definition of Collaborative Working Themes and Average Scores

I wanted to share the average scores from the completed Collaboration Health Checks, so far received. The information below includes the statements included in each collaborative working theme, sorted in ascending order of average response. The scores are included in square brackets at the end of each statement.

Remember the Collaboration Health Check asks respondents to indicate their level of agreement with 35 statements below by entering:

0 - don't know / not applicable;
1 - disagree strongly;
2 - disagree;
3 - neither agree or disagree ;
4 - agree; or
5 - strongly agree.

I have also taken this opportunity to share my definition of each of the five collaborative working themes used in the development of the Collaborative Working Profiles.

1. Collaborative Behaviours

The behaviours exhibited by the collaborating parties and required to support effective collaboration. The core behaviours are honesty; respect and mutuality and are applicable to both the formal and informal aspects of the relationship. Often, the informal or social aspects of collaboration are overlooked with the focus almost exclusively on the more formal contractual arrangements.
  • We regularly share the assumptions we hold about our partner(s), with our partner(s). [2.8]
  • We are clear about the assumptions we hold and the facts we know about our potential partner(s). [3.1]
  • When we are working with our partner(s) it "feels" like an equitable relationship. [3.3]
  • We are honest with our partners(s) in giving feedback. [3.3]
  • When working with our partner(s) we are genuinely open to adopting ideas expressed by them. [3.5]
  • We are open to honest feedback from our partner(s). [3.7]
  • We are prepared to "give something up" in order to progress an opportunity to collaborate. [3.8]

2. Collaborative Working Process

The collaborative working process is a means by which participants can be guided through the different stages partners need to go through to deliver and effective collaboration. I advocate a four stage process of connecting to form relationships; contracting to set clear goals and guidelines; collaborating to deliver the objectives in the agreed manner and closing to review success and agree next steps.

  • We always seek to review and where necessary revise our contract with our partner(s) during our collaboration. [2.7]
  • We always review the collaboration's performance against mutually agreed objectives. [3.0]
  • When working collaboratively, we co-create the design of the initiative with our partner(s). [3.1]
  • We and our partners are jointly accountable for project governance. [3.2]
  • We formally close off a collaborative initiative with the full agreement of our partner(s). [3.3]
  • During collaborative work, we take collective responsibility - with our partner(s) - for maintaining our focus on achieving our mutually agreed goals. [3.4]
  • When we review collaboration we seek to learn from the experience, rather than attributing blame for things that went wrong. [3.5]

3. The Value of Collaboration

The value of collaboration is more complex than other forms of business relationship. We do have to think about the value that will accrue to us, our own organisation, our partners and their organisation and possibly our joint stakeholders too. Benefits can be “softer” including improving / new relationships, reputation; or more commercially focused things like revenues, cost reductions, access to skills and capabilities not existing in your own organisation.

  • When we collaborate we are clear about the benefit(s) that will accrue to our shared stakeholders as well as to our own stakeholders. [3.3]
  • When we collaborate we are clear about the level of investment we are required to make. [3.4]
  • We acknowledge and value "difference" as a source of creativity and innovation when working with other stakeholders. [3.4]
  • When we collaborate, we are clear about the potential benefit(s) that will accrue to our partner(s). [3.5]
  • When we collaborate we are clear about the level of investment required from our partner(s). [3.6]
  • When we collaborate, we are clear about the potential benefit(s) that will accrue to us. [3.9]
  • When we work collaboratively, we create new possibilities that would not have been created by working alone. [4.4]

4. Engagement

Interacting with colleagues in our own and our partner’s organisation in an open and transparent fashion to share ideas, insights intentions and co-create the collaborative working initiative is critical. Demonstrating a commitment to collaborative working through deed as well as words builds trust between the collaborating parties.

  • When agreeing the activities and resourcing for a collaborative project, we also explicitly address "how" we will work together. [2.9]
  • We regularly engage colleagues from different departments in our own organisation to gain their perspective on our collaborative work. [3.5]
  • Colleagues across our organisation understand the value and challenges presented by working collaboratively. [3.6]
  • We regularly share the insights gained from our own work with other interested stakeholders. [3.7]
  • When collaborating, we engage with our partner(s) at an early stage to ensure we incorporate their thoughts and ideas. [3.7]
  • We value and embrace the challenge presented by seeking an external stakeholder's input to and perspective on our work. [3.9]
  • Our relationship with our partner(s) continues to develop as we work together. [4.4]

5. Relationship Development

Relationship Development is the act of developing a longer-term association between two or more people and based on regular business interactions. As trust develops, participants in the relationship will become more open to influence and to be influenced by the other party. Informal interactions become as important as formal ones and avenues of communication are always open.

  • In the early stages of engaging with potential partners, we share our "wants and offers" with them. [3.1]
  • We start a collaborative working initiative by paying particular attention to our relationship with our partner(s). [3.3]
  • Avenues of communication are always open with our partner(s) ensuring we resolve issues that arise effectively and efficiently, while we collaborate. [3.5]
  • Our relationships tend to be better with our partner(s) when we have collaborated on an initiative than they were before. [3.8]
  • We tend to have a good existing relationship with our stakeholders before we collaborate on a particular initiative. [3.9]
  • In reviewing our experience of a collaborative initiative, we explore the possibility of future collaboration with our partner(s). [3.9]
  • We are clear about the value to us of forming relationships with other stakeholders. [4.9]

Don’t forget, if you haven’t taken part so far (or have any other questions) but would like to, just drop me an email. If you have any comments, why not add them to this blog?