7 Thoughts on Collaboration

Collaboration is crucial to getting things done. Lots of individuals and organizations talk about how they are great at partnering and collaborating, but most really don't do this well.

So here are some keys to collaboration from my perspective, that you can hopefully put into practice:

1. It's about us, and we; not I, or me. Personalities and personal agendas have to be set aside. Organizations built around personalities usually don't partner well. Keep this in mind.

2. The true leaders have to model collaboration. If the influencers lead the way in collaborating, then others will jump in and follow. The industry leaders have to be "first in the water" and lead out on this. Influencers influence.

3. It's about creating win/wins. Have to create win/wins. Ultimately, partnering well means combining efforts to achieve something greater than what can be done separate or apart from each other. And both sides have to see the collaboration as a win, not just one.

4. Generosity is the new currency in our culture. Sharing is in. The business world and our culture in general continues to move towards open source, generosity, shared influence and collaborative projects. Collaboration and partnership and open source are defining where we're going.

5. Collaboration means you are giving up something. True collaboration can and many times does involve pain of some kind. If you are a true collaborator, you don't always get your way and might have to give up something. Unity and collaboration are different in this way. Unity is more about agreement, collaboration is more about achievement.

6. Appropriately understanding the scale of your impact and influence. Many churches and Christian ministries refuse to collaborate with others in their community because they feel so strongly about their own vision, and end up inadvertently neglecting the greater vision of the global Church and larger agenda happening in their communities. Understanding the scale of your vision vs. a bigger vision is incredibly important. In this case, Large C church vs. the small c church. For example, LifeChurch.tv does an incredible job of collaborating, and seeing their church's vision in partnership with others, both in their community and around the world.

7. Define the wins, and create clear expectations and agreements. Make sure all parties involved are clear on what is expected, and what looks like success. It's always easier to clearly define the expectations before you start instead of once involved in a partnership.