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How to Build Collaboration and Consensus. For Measurable Outcomes, Progress, Capacity Building, and Profit. WHY BUILD COLLABORATION?.

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How to BuildCollaboration and Consensus

For Measurable Outcomes, Progress, Capacity Building, and Profit


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WHY BUILD COLLABORATION?

  • Throughout history, progress and even survival, have at times depended on collaboration.  When environmental (including economic) conditions, competition, or other circumstances have made life more difficult or resources scarce, great civilizations and movements have been developed by people uniting together for a common purpose.  Greatness and progress have often accompanied a unified effort through adversity.  When Creativity, Skills, Self-Efficacy, and Motivation, accompany Collaboration, possibilities are extended, doors are opened, capacity expanded, and success realized.


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The Sense of the Goose

In the fall when you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in the "V" formation, you might be interested in knowing what science has discovered about why they fly that way. It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

PEOPLE WHO ARE PART OF A TEAM AND SHARE A COMMON DIRECTION GET WHERE THEY ARE GOING QUICKER AND EASIER, BECAUSE THEY ARE TRAVELING ON THE TRUST OF ONE ANOTHER.


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Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go through it alone and quickly

gets back into formation to take advantage of the power of the flock.

IF WE HAVE AS MUCH SENSE AS A GOOSE, WE WILL SHARE INFORMATION WITH THOSE WHO ARE HEADED THE SAME WAY WE ARE GOING.

When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose takes over.

IT PAYS TO SHARE LEADERSHIP AND TAKE TURNS DOING HARD JOBS.


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The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep their speed.

WORDS OF SUPPORT AND INSPIRATION HELP ENERGIZE THOSE ON THE FRONT LINE, HELPING THEM TO KEEP PACE IN SPITE OF THE DAY-TO-DAY PRESSURES AND FATIGUE.

Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by a gunshot and falls out, two geese fall out of the formation and follow the injured one down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out with another formation to catch up with their group.

IF WE HAVE THE SENSE OF A GOOSE, WE WILL STAND BY EACH OTHER WHEN THINGS GET ROUGH, and even when they're not.

Author Unknown


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  • In an environment where some resources are decreasing while demands are increasing, collaboration has become even more essential.  Projects, grants, initiatives and  programs, today, often require extensive collaboration.  Organizations and communities now, much like great organizations and communities of the past, find and encourage greatness, increasing capacity, by uniting, and encouraging the discovery, building, enhancing, and expanding of existing, strengths, assets, and resources.


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  • Strengthening and empowering Organizations, Communities, Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • A community can be any group of individuals or families working toward a common goal.  A community may include but is not limited to: a town, a city, a neighborhood, an office, an industry, a profession, a school, a religion, a corporation, a geographic, or political entity.


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  •  C Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  ommunication between and within an organization, community and/or family usually falls within one of four basic levels/categories.  Problems usually arise when more collaboration was needed than attempted, and when the organization/community/family says that it is doing one level and in reality is doing another.


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  • ~ Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.   Damage Control:  This often happens when someone assumes that more communication and collaboration was not needed, when it really was, when critical errors are made, or accidents occur.  This also happens when the agency/corporation says it is doing one level and is actually doing another.  Damage control is often a public relations nightmare but is sometimes unavoidable.


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  • ~ Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.   Education: This level of community relations is used frequently by corporations and agencies. At this level, information on Mission, Vision, Products, and other aspects of the corporation/agency are shared with the community.  Information is usually distributed through public relations/information/advertising campaigns.  In some situations, this is sufficient and appropriate for the corporation or agency.  Many organizations; however, are finding that education alone is not enough.   For example, it would usually be very foolish for a company to mass produce a new product without conducting market research.


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  • ~ Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.   Input/Feedback: More and more organizations are finding it helpful to not only provide education to the public (or even internally, within the organization), but to also solicit input/feedback from the public (or internally). An organization may want feedback about; services or products they provide, or even performance within the organization. They may also want feedback regarding the use of shared resources. The purpose of this interaction can be improved; performance, relations, product, and/or services, and more efficient use of shared resources. At the input/feedback level, it is important to let everyone know that you are working at this level. The decision is still that of the organization, you are only soliciting feedback and input, which may or may not alter a pending decision. If the decision has already been made, call it education.


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  • ~ Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.   Collaboration: Sometimes it is important to not only share and collect information, but also to share decisions and ownership. Collaboration allows for shared leadership, decisions, ownership, vision, and responsibility.  It discovers solutions and expands capacity within the organization and the community.  As with all levels, collaboration may only deal with a limited and predefined issue, which may be adjusted as needed.


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Levels of Authority Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • When an organization gives a team, committee, or council an assignment, it is imperative that the organization and team clearly understand their level of authority.

  • Please see Levels of Authority on the website. http://www.collaboration.me.uk/LEVELS_OF_AUTHORITY.php


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One size does not fit all. Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • Collaboration comes in many shapes, sizes, and of varying duration.  It may not make sense to develop a broad in-depth collaboration when a short term coordinated effort is all that is needed.  For example, a coordinated partnership may be the most effective and practical way for two or more organizations to come together for a joint project or grant.  In this scenario, each organization may have clear responsibility for specific aspects of a project, without joint management of the whole project.

  • Collaboration often develops in stages which may include:


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1. Competition Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • Competition channeled and in the right situation can help groups or individuals to stretch themselves and excel.  For example, competition is important in many sport and free market situations; however, in order to achieve true success, there must be a balance between competition and cooperation and at times even collaboration.


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2. Networking/Communication Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • As information begins to be shared and communication increases, it benefits everyone.  There may be more of an interest in gaining information than sharing information at this stage.  Trust will develop as more information and resources are shared for the benefit of all.  


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3. Cooperation/Coordination Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • Information sharing becomes more formalized with structure and agreements; though, individual interests are maintained.  More resources are shared and duplication is limited.

  • Coordination: Formalized sharing of resources, information, and some common goals.


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4. Coordination/Partnership Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • Resources are brought together to create, discover, or access, new resources.  The management of resources is shared to a greater extent, becoming more mutually beneficial, increasing resource capacity for everyone.  This is a more formal and structured relationship with signed agreements.  In many good partnerships a partner is as concerned about the other partner's success as their own.


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5. Coalition   Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • Leadership and decision making is shared by all through a direct democratic or an indirect representative process.  Decision making is formalized and clear, as is communication.  More resources are developed, created, and discovered for the benefit of everyone in the coalition.  (This stage may not be as applicable in the corporate/business sector.)


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6. Collaboration Families, and Individuals, is aided, through Cooperation and Collaboration.  

  • A written vision and mission are shared by everyone within the collaboration.  Programs, information, resources, and projects are interdependent. Communication is very clear and open, trust and relationships  are strong.  Members have a strong sense of accomplishment, belonging, purpose, and responsibility.  Goals are clearly defined and often met.  Shared, developed, and discovered, resources, are significantly amplified through the collaborative process.  Resources are shared within the collaboration and often outside the collaboration, reaching for greater collaboration and capacity.

  • Collaboration: Shared vision, mission, power, resources, and goals.


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  • "People live in communities. But the real importance of "living in community" is that people – and groups of people – develop the ways and means to care for each other, to nurture the talents and leadership that enhance the quality of community life, and to tackle the problems that threaten the community and the opportunities which can help it.

  • When people do these things, communities become healthy; when they do not, communities deteriorate. Communities that have the ways and means to undertake challenges demonstrate “capacity”.

  • Without capacity, communities are merely collections of individuals acting without concern for the common good; they are without the necessary ingredients required to develop a healthier community. Communities without capacity really are not communities in any meaningful sense, but have given way to negative conditions like apathy, poverty or ineptitude."

  • Measuring Community Capacity Building (Aspen Institute, 1996)


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How To Build Collaboration "living in community" is that people – and groups of people – develop the ways and means to care for each other, to nurture the talents and leadership that enhance the quality of community life, and to tackle the problems that threaten the community and the opportunities which can help it.


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  • Start with a unifying purpose. matter who gets the credit.” Attributed to George C Marshal

  • Create, maintain, and update, simple and practical Mission and Vision statements.

  • Set goals and objectives. Goals are where you want to go.  Objectives are how you are going to get there.

  • Believe in what you are doing and the people who are doing it."If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

  • Henry Ford


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  • Leadership matter who gets the credit.” Attributed to George C Marshal"What  you are thunders so loudly in my ears that I cannot hear what you say."  Emerson

  • Coordinate - Organize

  • Show Respect for People and Time.

  • Consider logistical needs of others.

  • Be Open-minded; Share Ownership; Empower others; Share Leadership.

  • Build relationships.


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  • Communicate: "Real listening shows respect. It creates trust. As we listen, we not only gain understanding, we also create the environment to be understood. And when both people understand both perspectives, instead of being on opposite sides of the table looking across at each other, we find ourselves on the same side looking at solutions together". Stephen R. Covey

  • Motivate

  • Take responsibility and give credit.


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  • Stick with it...Persevere. Work. "The only place you'll find success before work is in the dictionary".  Mary B. Smith "That which we persist in doing becomes easy to do. Not that the nature of the thing has changed, but the power to do had increased".  Heber J. Grant

  • Let Go, Forgive.

  • Continuity; Consistency; Dependability

  • Evaluate - Feedback


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  • Any group of people, living or working together, as a family or community, in order to maintain a reasonably healthy and efficient relationship and achieve success, needs to share responsibility and be accountable to one another. Independence is truly an illusion. Interdependence is reality and to achieve a healthy balance without co-dependence should be our goal.


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