Ensure your collaborator has a strategy

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —October 14, 2008
Filed in Collaboration

Collaboration is often hard and it takes time—time to build the relationships, time to clear up misunderstandings, time to listen and time to get things done. We do it because collaboration enables us to do bigger and better things.

So in selecting a partner to collaborate with (this could be an individual or an organisation) you will want to make sure there is sufficient energy and persistence to invest the time needed for the collaboration to work. One way is to understand your collaborator’s business strategy, starting with whether they even have one, and ensuring your collaborative effort helps them achieve their objectives while achieving your own.

In the euphoria of a new collaboration, however, everyone will tell you what you want to hear, so seek out evidence of their business strategy rather than merely rely on what you are being told. And be totally open and honest about these things at the outset because getting your objectives aligned will provide a solid foundation for all the great work you will be doing together.

And if you really want to inject some reality into the partnership from the outset, try running a pre-mortem.

Thanks to Frank Wyatt for sparking these thoughts in our conversation this morning.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

2 Responses to “Ensure your collaborator has a strategy”

  1. Joitske Says:

    Hi, we went ahead with a unknown partner for a consultancy- jumping in the deep. What helped was knowing that we have a shared philosophie that we work from. (known because of a common collaborator)

  2. Peter Ireland Says:

    Hey Shawn!
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    Under the keiretsu model, which helped fuel Japan’s “Economic Miracle” after WW2, a group of large publicly traded industrials band together with a bank to prosper together.
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    There are ten Industry Aggregation projects aggregating ten different industries currently, including sustainable living.
    Check it out if you have a proven business you want to see become more stable and grow faster.
    Check it out if you are looking for a new career as a aggregation team member.
    You can find out more about Industry Aggregation at That’s just one aggregation group.
    Keep up the good work.

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