Collaborative Competence, is a project of Collaborative Processes.

Collaborative competence, as an organization or individual, means

Collaborative basics

1. Recognize that organizations collaborate with differing interests, incentives, skills and resources to achieve jointly desired goals, and that these differences must be respected. If fact, it is the combination of differences that give the collaboration its power.

2. Cope with the fact that collaboration generally involves parties of different background, culture, structure and power, bringing asymmetries that must be openly considered and addressed.


3. A caring awareness of, and full attention to, what is happening with yourself and others.

Self reflection

4. Exercise organisational, and personal, self reflection based in a willingness to change and improve.

As a member of a collaboration


5. Understand how and when to collaborate, and when not to do so.

6. Name relationships for what they are. Carefully distinguish among types of cooperation so that any form of collaboration is not called a “partnership.”

7. Be adequately self-aware. Avoid creating false expectations by being honest about the interests in play with clarity about acceptable risks and what is non-negotiable.

8. Ensure that performance measures used by the collaboration are appropriate for the needs of all parties.

9. Carefully select the person(s) who represents the organization to assure proper authority, perspectives, attitude and communication skills.


10. Ensure that all perspectives are voiced and considered in collaborative matters.

11. Agree on mutual information requirements and share needed information in a timely manner.

Working together

12. Ensure that the ‘rules of the game’ are equitable and open to periodic review based on experience.

13. Determine and negotiate an optimal division of roles and realistic expectations.

14. Conduct agreed activities using generally accepted principles of development ethics, planning, monitoring, transparency and accountability.

15. Incorporate mutuality as a key component of collaboration, such as joint problem solving, data sharing, program documentation, and credit for accomplishments and responsibility for failures.

16. Expect change and, therefore, encourage and plan for adjustment to changing circumstances.

17. Ensure that collaborations assess not only the products of joint efforts, but the quality of collaboration skills and interactions. Asses not only ‘what’ are you doing, but also ‘how.’

Conflict or termination

18. Ensure that practical and fair resolution mechanisms are already in place so that any conflict among collaborators is promptly and effectively addressed.

19. Plan structures and finance so that participants with less resources are not inappropriately damaged if collaboration ends abruptly or without due notice.

Source: some ideas on this page were developed in association with IMI and Dr. Alan Fowler

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