Preconditions for Collaboration

Compelling Cause 

Collaboration requires everyone involved to change their behavior; some of the changes are minor and some are large. But change is required. A “compelling cause” compels us to change our behavior. We complain about many issues. We wish many conditions would change in our community. But only when we refuse to tolerate the status quo are we compelled to change. Leaders advocating for change often assume their cause is compelling—just as entrepreneurs assume their business idea is worthy of funding.

Galvanizing Leadership

The absence of control within complex civic systems makes leadership more important than ever if change is to be achieved. “Galvanizing leadership” is one of the specific types of leadership required to support and sustain an effective collaboration. Galvanizing leadership unites diverse players within a system by persistently and consistently articulating the “compelling cause.” Galvanizing leadership helps other players identify why the cause is compelling within their own organization or entity. Galvanizing leadership sets the direction for the players within the system and creates a sense of urgency for immediate action. 

High-performing Organizations

Collaboration requires organizations (and the individuals who work within them) to cross boundaries, take risks and change their behavior. In short, collaboration is hard work. Asking poor-performing organizations (organizations that are unable to produce valued outcomes either because of a lack of resources or effectiveness) to collaborate is doomed to generate “coblaboration.”