Factors for Successful Collaboration: Process, Power & Platform
This month during the 2020 Network Leadership Training Academy we explored ideas surrounding managing a network and collaboratives effectively. Dr. Darrin Hicks from the University of Denver joined us to share what his research has uncovered about successful networks. Specifically, Dr. Hicks has uncovered three factors for successful collaboration that involve process, power and platforms within a network of partners. Here’s a brief overview of his three findings, along with his six features for high-quality processes.
Processes for Successful Collaboration
A process is a method for organizing the work of a network or collaborative. While many new partners want to jump immediately to action, it’s important for partners to take time to co-construct a process from the beginning. It’s key that participants view the process as fair if they are to invest their time, energy and resources into the group. Take the time to assess the situation, determine needs, identify solutions, and create goals collectively.
Creating a Sense of Authentic Power
In his research, Dr. Hicks discovered that the key to getting more engaged, involved members is a sense of authentic power. This means members of a network must feel that they have the power to make decisions that are actually implemented. If your collaborative is simply rubber stamping decisions from other groups, it’s unlikely you will build a base of deeply motivated partners.
Track Your Process with a Platform
The best networks give someone the role of tracking and protecting their process vigilantly. This means using a shared platform to track the interactions and processes within the network to reflect and adjust them accordingly. A platform can be as simple as a facilitation tool, like a phrase that can be used to pause conversation and discuss process concerns. It can also be technological in nature, like our PARTNER community partner relationship manager. The key is to find a platform that is transparent and will be used by your network.
The Six Features of a High Quality Process
Considering these three factors for successful collaboration in total, Dr. Hicks presented six features of a high quality process for networks. We’ll finish with his list:
- The process is inclusive.
- The process treats all stakeholders equally.
- The process is authentic.
- The process is transparent.
- The process focuses on the problem.
- The process is revisable.
Factors for Successful Collaboration
Remember to keep considerations of process, power and platform at the center of your network or collaborative. With the right focus on creating a feeling of authentic collaboration and power, your network will be on its way to reaching its goals and making a difference.
About the Author: Alex Derr, M.P.A.
Director of Marketing & Communications
Alex joined VNL in 2017, originally supporting our events. He now helps manages our communications and marketing strategy and content development work. Alex creates blogs, infographics, reports, and other content while managing our web and social media presence. He also runs our email marketing campaigns, tracks analytics, and conducts market research to drive our strategy. He supports our entire team with copywriting, graphic design and research, and helps with events, webinars, demos, and other online learning. When he isn’t at work Alex spends his time climbing 14ers (24 done, 34 to go!) and blogging on his own website, The Next Summit Blog.
Subscribe to our Network Leadership Newsletter!
Get monthly articles, infographics, webinars, and resources on how to build, manage, and evaluate cross-sector community networks and partnerships.