There are a lot of great and valuable resources that talk about why collaboration is important (customer, partner, and employee) and why it’s valuable to organizations. While these conversations are still important to have I think we’ve reached a time when we need to start focusing more on the strategic and tactical side of how to make collaboration work instead of just talking about why it’s valuable and what the benefits are. We have a lot of evangelists in this space (myself included) but what happens when the evangelists go away? We need to not just be evangelists of collaboration but also guides and strategists for organizations. Or at least we need to be able to support the evangelists with “how-to” resources. The rubber is very much starting to meet the road and I think we can all collectively do more to focus on the “how-to.”
I have a 300+ page book on collaboration strategy coming out at the end of June and I will be sharing more on that here as I lead up to the book launch but I want to encourage others to share what they know as well. I’m not sure why we don’t see more as far as “how-to” resources or conversations; I always assumed it’s either because people just don’t want to share or because many generally don’t know how to answer the harder questions and topics around collaboration. I don’t know anyone that has all the answers here but there is nothing wrong with sharing our ideas, experiences, concepts, theories, and examples of what we are seeing other companies doing. I tried to start this by sharing many in-depth case studies on collaboration but it’s not enough.
What about exploring things such as:
- Evaluating and mitigating risks around collaboration (models/frameworks)
- How to develop uses cases, literally, what does this look like?
- How can an organization develop a model for changing the way it evaluates employees based on how they collaborate? What does this look like?
- Timelines and key activities for how a collaboration can be rolled out
- Where can organizations get budgets for these initiatives and what should they look like?
- How can organizations structure teams to lead these initiatives, who should be a part of them, how do you form them, and what are their key activities?
This is far from a comprehensive list of what I think we should see more people addressing but these are more along the topics that I think we should be gearing towards don’t you? Pretend you’re sitting in a room with executives and you just finished explaining to them the value and benefits of collaboration and one of them raises their hand and says, “ok great, come here and sit down with me and tell me how to evaluate a potential vendor” or, “I want to hire you to help us, you start tomorrow.” What you would do and what would all of this look like?
Let’s stop talking about why swimming is good for you and jump in the pool.