Productivity

The secrets to successful collaboration

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Adam Turner
Technology Journalist

Adam Turner is a Sydney Morning Herald senior technology columnist who has been writing about the challenges facing Australian business for more than a decade

Collaboration is one of the biggest pieces of the effective business puzzle.

Experts and business owners share their tips and advice on successful collaborations and partnerships with other organisations.

A successful project with collaboration between organisations relies heavily on the relationships between the stakeholders and effective management of the stakeholder group. Five key points for stakeholder management:

Brad Armstrong and Steve Wheelhouse stand at a construction site

Steve Wheelhouse, Barmo Mana Partnership

1. It is important to carefully select, recognise and acknowledge the relevant stakeholders that make up the project group. The group should not be too large to the point that it becomes ineffective. A hierarchy should be established and, where possible, stakeholders should have a proven track record of quality outcomes on collaborative works.

2. Assess the contribution, commitment and support required from each of the stakeholders. The criticality of influential stakeholders’ input and the level of commitment required from each of the stakeholders is part of this assessment.

3. Develop the action plan, including a communications strategy. Obstacles to full stakeholder contribution and commitment levels identified in the previous stage are to be addressed by the action plan.

4. Carry out the action plan, which includes management of the expectations of all the stakeholders.

5. Monitor the outcomes and take corrective actions where required. This may include modifying or updating the stakeholder management plan.

Profressor Emmanuel Josserand, UTS Business School in Sydney

1. Senior executives and project managers involved in a collaborative project should conduct a ‘cultural distance’ workshop to discuss their key values and learn how to translate messages from one organisation’s language to the other.

2. Innovate to reinvent the rules of the game by discussing your objectives and constraints. Remember, working together is about creating value together.

3. Form a joint project team that has enough margin to manoeuvre, and which can develop its own values. Perhaps you can provide the team with a dedicated space – if possible, one that will foster innovation.

4. Plan your exit strategies and discuss these with your partner. Make sure you understand each other’s short- and long-term objectives and discuss possible scenarios for the collaboration to evolve.

Jessica Ruhfus, CEO of Collabosaurus

1. Businesses with a similar vision. Work toward a common objective to ensure each party stands to benefit equally from the partnership implemented, regardless of their industry. The partnership will strengthen core vision and goals.

2. Share Your Assets. A successful brand collaboration is mutually beneficial. Be aware of your partner brand’s marketing assets and be ready to share your own in exchange for relevant and valuable exposure.

3. Be Clear When Outlining Goals. Set clear goals, whether you want to convert more sales, build your Instagram following or purely expose your brand so you can test and measure the success of your partnership over time.

4. Agree On A Target Market. Partner with a brand that is targeting the same audience. This will ensure that your marketing efforts are engaging the right people and resonating with them, rather than going to waste. 

5. Embrace Different. While it’s important to work toward a shared vision, some of the best brand collaborations are unexpected and unusual, like Havaianas and Where’s Wally. These are often highly engaging and can attract the attention of media and influencers.

Louise Pope, Director Aequalis Consulting 

1. Create A Mastermind. No two people are exactly alike, and combined knowledge is power. Our minds are similar to the cells of a battery – combined they can create tremendous power and energy.

2. Shared Vision And Values. Business partnerships are a little bit like a marriage, a lot of them don’t work out and some end badly, so choose your partner wisely.

3. Help By Giving Back. Giving back to the community by donating your time and expertise can be beneficial in a number of ways. Teaming up for the greater good is a powerful method to strengthen your bonds and solidify relationships.

The right partnerships in business matter.

Read why you should surround yourself with experts here.

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