‘the action of working with someone to produce something.’ – Oxford English Dictionary
‘Cooperative arrangement in which two or more parties (which may or may not have any previous relationship) work jointly towards a common goal.’ – Online Business Dictionary
Though a lot can be achieved as an individual, the greatest results are observed when individuals, teams and departments seek to collaborate on both their projects and their ways of working. In this ever-shrinking and increasingly globalised world economy, organisations themselves are progressively turning to developing collaborative relationships with others in order to achieve greater shared results.
Whilst they come with some obvious benefits, these collaborative relationships can also come with risks and their own various challenges. This can be particularly evident when the relationships are across greater social or physical distances; for example, between contrasting organisational cultures, working practices, or values.
‘Knowledge management: Effective methods of transferring ‘know-how’ among individuals, therefore critical to creating and sustaining a competitive advantage.’ – OBD
When we are discussing collaboration in a working environment, we generally refer to the practice of knowledge management (definition above) – though many not-for-profit or public sector organisations do not strictly work for a competitive advantage. This knowledge management process relies on a number of aspects or relationship building, such as trust, in order to create value for both parties.
In the following lessons, we will discuss these values, key skills and tools, and any barriers which need to be overcome.