The first thing you need to come to grips with is that there is a practical definition of collaboration. Practical! Why practical you ask? I believe there is a difference between the practice and theoretical application of collaboration. Let’s look at a couple definitions and I think you will get my point.
New American Heritage Dictionary (2nd College Addition) definitions:
- Collaboration: “To work together in a joint intellectual effort”
- Cooperation: “To work or act together toward a common end or purpose”
Let me provide you with a “practical” definition of collaboration that I believe will change your way of doing business and reduce those problems and issues, that definition contains three components;
Let’s review the 3 C’s of Collaboration
1. Communication- Two way, real-time and factual value-based information.
a. Two-way means to have mutually beneficial communication between the group or person you’re collaborating with.
b. Real-time means immediately or within the next hour or two, not by the end of the day or next week, month or quarter. Meaningful actions require timely information.
c. Factual value-based information describes filtered information that is valuable to the recipient immediately upon receipt in order to perform a task or make a decision. Data is just numbers, symbols, and letters. Assemble them into a stream of words and formulas, and you have information. Filter the information into the key components required to resolve issues without delay and you have “value-based” information.
2. Cooperation-“The working together toward a common end or purpose” is still a valuable component to our definition of collaboration. It is incomplete because it does not define HOW the collaborators should work together. It says for a “common end or purpose” but it does not say for the benefit of whom? Next time you’re audited by the IRS or SEC, ask who is going to benefit most from the cooperating.
3. Commitment-“The act of pledging or entrusting one-self to a particular position or relationship”. Commitment takes collaboration to an important new level. It establishes a relationship between the collaborators that states that they both are pledging to do everything in their power to make the other party successful in the process. Successful means that each party derives the benefit they were expecting from the relationship.
Take the 3 C’s of Collaboration and look at how you deal with your employees, your customers, your owners, your vendor/suppliers, and all your other stakeholders (practice SRM™-another solution to come), and you will be amazed how the problems and issues you have today will become images of the past.
If you have experiences with Collaboration, I would like to hear your story, leave a comment.
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