We are increasingly told—or tell others—to collaborate. Everyone from politicians and computer coders to nonprofit leaders and athletes are hearing or giving this advice. But rarely is such advice offered along with insight on “how.” When I started working for the Fund in 2007 one of my responsibilities was to encourage more collaboration, but no one told me what I needed to do to make that happen.
Indeed, when I described my job to Eric Gordon, CEO of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, several years ago, he politely listened for about 30 seconds and then summed it up by saying: “So you facilimanipulate people into coblablorations.” Yep, I did a fair amount of that in my early days with the Fund. But over time, I learned from Eric, Fund members and many others what it takes to design, facilitate and sustain effective collaborations that can catalyze enduring, positive community change.
Now, those lessons have been published by the Fund in the new handbook, “Collaboration.” And I’m privileged to share those lessons with others through my consulting business, Civic Collaboration Consultants. The Fund and I hope that these lessons will help you minimize the time you spend coblaborating.
The next time you urge someone to collaborate more, please share with them a copy of “Collaboration” to help them understand how.
And if you’re thinking about organizing a new collaboration or wondering how to get an existing one back on track, I am providing up to five customized collaboration learning sessions through the Fund this fall. Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to get copies of the handbook or to learn more about the Fund-sponsored learning sessions.