‘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.



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51

Why do we work together, instead of approaching tasks alone? Sometimes, this may seem obvious; but often, it will not. Here we will explore some of the most crucial reasons why collaboration is of benefit to organisations and people.

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56

Collaboration comes with a number of obvious benefits. However, it can also be a complex matter, particularly when the scale of the project is significant. Therefore, there are a number of aspects that must be considered in order to ensure its success.

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Collaborations can be difficult. Leaders must be aware of any potential challenges from the outset in order to plan around them or avoid them entirely.

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Collaborations across organisations come in many different forms, each with several benefits, but also many risks, all of which are dependent on the circumstances at hand. 

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64

Cost-benefit analyses are a simple decision-making tool to aid leaders in assessing whether a new project, collaboration, etc. is viable or beneficial.

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82

Understanding and implementing best practice – i.e. the most effective way of doing things – is crucial to successful operations. Leaders must first understand how to identify this, but also the importance of reciprocal sharing of identified best practice for mutual benefit.