Too often business people rely on positional power and short-term transactional behaviours to reach their outcomes. To create value and nurture cooperation, these need to be substituted with long term thinking with the relationships interests in mind, particularly when there are differing geographical locations, cultures, educations, ages and views on how to reach an outcome.
To collaborate effectively it is important to identify the common ground that motivates cooperative behaviours and sustains relationships.
A simple and smart example of collaboration comes from the residents of Warrandyte in Victoria who have formed Climate Action Now (CAN). By collaborating to organise a bulk energy buy, its members are able to invite power companies to tender offers. This collaboration means members receive lower power bills, discount offers and the opportunity to influence power companies towards green energy choices.
Other useful examples of how collaboration stimulates innovation and creates new value can be found by visiting the website of Local Motors and BMW Gina.
Local Motors created a business model that lets you design and build your own motor vehicle. It is an excellent example of internet collaboration.
The BMW GINA initiative shows how metal vehicle panels can be substituted and how collaboration opens up new thinking.
Quick tips – Collaborating to create value
- Ensure decision making is long term, transparent and unambiguous
- Build inclusive agreements by valuing collective knowledge and skills above perceived status and bargaining
- Ensure that those involved understand the task and have the motivation and competency to achieve the outcome
- Manage difference by being mindful of the long-term impact on the relationship and the opportunities for mutual gains or losses
- Build and verify trust by determining in advance any boundaries and the information needed to create value
- Manage power imbalances by creating face-saving options and by seeking to create value rather than just claim value