How to collaborate effectively

1. Know your why! 

First get to know your why. This is essential as you do not want each project or partnership to define your organisation. You can do this by clearly defining your vision, aims and objectives as an organisation or personal brand. 

Guiding Questions:

  • Why do you do what you do? 
  • What problems are you solving? 
  • What are your non-negotiable values? 
  • What do you stand for? 

2. SWOT Yourself Out

Once you have your why defined and set, you need to evaluate whether or not it is achievable for you. You can do this by doing a SWOT analysis for yourself or your organisation to honestly evaluate what are your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. 

Guiding Questions:

  • What do I have (knowledge/resources/connections) that can help me achieve my goals and objectives? 
  • What could potentially be harmful to my organisation and my vision? 
  • Which do I lack and need growth in? 
  • What opportunities are there for me to grow and make up for my shortcomings? 

3. Weigh your options! 

When seeking out potential partners, you need to take your time and do your research. List all your potential partners and evaluate them based on your vision and SWOT anything. Narrow down your list to 3 or less organisations which you will then approach for your project or initiative. 

Guiding questions:

  • What do they stand for? Does it align with my vision, aims and objectives? 
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses? Do they complement mine? 

4. Draft a proposal with the aims and objectives of the project

Your initial communication with the potential partner is essential. Do your research on their organisational structure and find the most relevant office to direct your proposal to. Moreover, you need to ensure that your proposal is straight to the point and covers two essential elements:

    1. How you can add value to them
    2. Your expectations from them 
    3. What are the timelines of the partnership

Guiding Questions:

  • What do I need that the potential partner can offer?
  • What do I have that the potential partner may find beneficial?
  • What value does the idea add to the potential partner?
  • How does this potential partner add value to the idea?
  • How can I best share the idea in a few words?

5. Have an in person or video meeting to make sure that everyone is on the same page

This is important for the initial meeting. Set up an in person or video chat for at least 15 minutes to share the idea and clarify any questions that the potential partner may have. This will also allow you to discuss how the partnership can look for both the success of the project and mutual benefit for your organisation and theirs. 

6. Draft and sign an agreement

This doesn’t have to be an intense legal document, it can be a straightforward list of goals, with dates and responsibilities. Ensure that the agreement covers the following elements:

    1. Set clear goals and objectives
    2. Determine the duration of the partnership
    3. Clearly define roles and responsibilities

Guiding Questions:

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • By when do we want to start and finish?
  • Who will be responsible for what?
  • How are we going to achieve the goal?
  • Why do we want to do this? What problem do we want to solve?

7. Collaborate: Do the work!

Once you have drafted the agreement, send it to the potential partner and do a follow up call to discuss and finalise it. If there are other partners involved, schedule a joint meeting before you start. Once all that is done, the real work begins! 

While running the project, ensure that you schedule weekly/monthly meetings to review and evaluate your progress.

Guidelines:

    1. Have regular check ins to ensure you’re still on the same page
    2. Adjust your goals as both parties see necessary 
    3. Don’t be afraid to change your plans as you go, be flexible

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