Making collaboration work
Successful business collaborations require alignment of values, commitment, understanding, planning and communication. Take the time to fully explore the following aspects of your proposed partnering arrangement.
Successful business collaborators have invested time evaluating the potential contract. They plan the bid writing process fully, including allocation of duties and responsibilities. The time invested at this stage can lead to a more effective bid writing process.
For many businesses doing it for the first time, collaboration will be a new way of working; therefore, there is a need to manage that change carefully.
Clear goals and commitment
Effective collaboration requires clearly defined and shared goals. All parties involved must have a commitment to achieving these shared goals.
Communication is the key to making any collaboration work, so make sure there is regular, open and respectful communication between all the businesses involved. Some communication should be formal (e.g. progress reports).
Culture of openness, trust and sharing
Effective collaborations thrive on a culture of openness and mutual trust, as well as the sharing of skills, knowledge and expertise.
It is important to define and manage the expectations of all businesses involved in the collaboration as the partnership commences. These can be evolved over time.
All aspects of the collaboration, including bid writing, should be carefully planned and monitored.
Policies and procedures
Develop and implement relevant and consistent policies and procedures that will make the collaboration work.
Make sure to follow all laws and regulations (including taxation) as part of setting up and managing the collaboration.
Collaboration does bring risks and problems. It is important to identify ways take to mitigate or avoid these risks through a risk register and risk mitigation plan.
Roles and responsibilities
Make sure roles and responsibilities are clearly identified and agreed on based on a skills assessment.
Teamwork and skills
Create an environment that facilitates effective teamwork and maximises the expertise of partnering organisations and individuals.
Invest time in nurturing and developing relationships among individuals involved in the collaboration, and with external partners. Use agreements (e.g. memorandum of understanding) to ensure working relationships are well-defined.