Effective collaboration can result in enduring, positive community change, yet it remains elusive for many. In October 2016, the Fund for Our Economic Future -- with support from its community foundation members -- published a resource guide for civic leaders grappling with collaboration in their communities.
"Collaboration: A Handbook from the Fund for Our Economic Future" encapsulates the Fund's lessons from its experiences operating within multiple collaborative environments over the last 12 years and offers concrete guidance on how to move from "coblaboration" to true, effective collaboration.
Author Chris Thompson, who was with the Fund since its early days and recently started his own consulting practice, takes stock of the Fund's collaboration work to date and draws the following lessons:
- Collaboration is a process through which independent stakeholders assume shared responsibility for achieving a mutually beneficial common goal. Collaboration should never be the goal; it is a means to the goal.
- Before collaboration is even possible, specific preconditions -- a compelling cause, galvanizing leadership and high-performing organizations -- need to be met.
- Effective collaborations all have three common elements -- capacity, process and leadership.
Since our beginning in 2004, our Fund has engaged in a lot of earnest collaborative work that has delivered high returns and tangible outcomes to our community, yet has fallen short of its full potential. We won’t be able to achieve our goal of economic growth and increased access to opportunity without strengthening our collaboration know-how. There is always more to learn.
To download a copy of the report, click here. To receive a hard copy or to inquire about having Chris Thompson conduct a diagnostic assessment or workshop with a collaboration of which you're a part, please email Director of Communications Sara McCarthy.