Why do we need to collaborate?
Have you ever wondered how we would survive in business or in life generally if we did not collaborate with other people? We would not last very long in business and as a person, you would probably be called a hermit!
Collaboration is all about working together to achieve a goal or an agreed outcome in a positive and mutually beneficial way. To do this means that there needs to be an attitude, a willingness to communicate and interact with other people. Not only with your immediate colleagues but with people who you have never met and increasingly, may never ever meet physically. Due to the ability for us to connect, collaborate and communicate with people electronically via the Internet, means collaborating “virtually” is now becoming quite the norm.
So how do you create a collaborative business relationship when you may never actually meet that person? Apart from having the interpersonal skills we all need a model or a framework from which to work from. This model will help us make sure that we develop relationships in a positive and collaborative way. Making sure that we collaborate and partner with the right people is one of the most important, if not the most important decision, so that we do not expose ourselves to unnecessary risks as well as wasting time and money.
Developing a Strategic Collaboration Model
To help people understand how to develop a positive collaborative business relationship, using the BS 11000 standard as a guide, will help you to ensure you take the necessary steps to maximise the potential opportunity for all parties. There are 3 key strategic approaches within BS 11000 that have a total of 8 stages. Working your way through the standard might be one approach, but if you and your colleagues are to gain an understanding so that there is alignment and focus with everyone, developing your your strategic collaboration model can be best achieved using workshops. The illustration above – Collaboration Workshop based on BS 11000 shows how you can develop your collaboration model, in a visual and interactive way.
The workshop process starts with a SWOT analysis looking at the 8 stages of this strategic approach:
- Internal Assessment
- Partner Selection
- Working together
- Value Creation
- Staying Together
- Exit Strategy
Applying your Strategic Collaboration Model
Adopting this approach allows you to use with with internal departments, clients, supply chain partners and any other person and or business that you wish to collaborate with. There are may types of relationships that you can use your strategic model for such as projects, partnering and affiliate programmes, joint ventures, consortium’s, forums, collaboration networks and ecosystems, enterprises to alliances. By addressing the the 8 stages of this strategic collaboration approach you will have a collaboration model, enabling you to engage collaboratively with other people, businesses and organisations.
As with any relationship there are some common aspects that are fundamental to your overall success in applying this collaboration model with your business partner. First, having alignment with business objectives and strategic outcomes both internally and externally; agreed and aligned business processes, mutual benefits and an integrated approach to risk management.
By taking a proactive and strategic approach to collaboration, you will be able to develop and sustain a variety of valuable business relationships collaboratively. Discover how by completing a collaboration checklist. Enter your name and email in the orange box and uncover your collaboration capability.
Keep on collaboratong