As part of my research I have identified the following key elements that indicate the health and strength of collaborative organisations.-

• History of working together – also referred to as Heritage relationships – poor relationship history is a challenge for collaboration

• Mutual Concern (interests) – aligning self-interests into collective interests – motivation is driven by interests at individual, group & super ordinate level

• Commitment – sense of ownership in decision making and outcomes that provides motivation toward a collective purpose

• Role Clarity – clear understanding of roles and responsibilities to be performed within a collaborative enterprise

• Mutual Goal – common/shared vision and purpose that binds each member together and securing their commitment toward a common goal –

• Connectedness – the strength of connections between collaborative partners – key connections promoting value flows

• Trust – essential for effective negotiation and collaboration – trust is a lubricant that reduces friction, the glue that bonds disparate parts, and the catalyst for action

• Communication – open and frequent communication is essential for successful collaboration -it not only flows within and across collaborative organisations, it is the organisation

• Mutual Power – collaboration is built upon equitable partnerships, encouraging and recognising the simultaneous empowerment between all involved – power built just as much on knowledge, skills and experience as functions or titles

• Boundary Permeability – Boundaries within and external to the organisation must be permeable to ensure the flow of information and knowledge, negotiation of meaning and commitment between key diverse organisational actors

• Membership – diversity – essential for innovation, co-creation of knowledge and value, complementary skills, knowledge and resources

• Self Development – Collaboration provides the opportunity of self-development that arises when there is a cross levelling of knowledge, involving the sharing of information across individual and organisation boundaries and between members with diverse knowledge, experience and skills

• Leadership – leadership becomes more important than management in the development and maintenance of collaborative relationships – business or personal relationships rely upon leadership to promote and facilitate the dense web of personal connections, something that formal control systems cannot achieve

Are there any other key elements of collaboration that you are aware of – if so, I welcome your suggestions along with any comments on the elements and topic raised in this post. We will expand upon each of the above-mentioned key elements of collaboration in this blog series.

If you would like to have Peter Spence as a speaker, advisor/coach or trainer at your company, group or organisation please contact Peter via the website contact form or by email at and learn to become a better negotiator.

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