Readiness for Collaboration
Before you get started, know your partners/collaborators. A partnership/collaboration is defined as a relationship where two or more parties, having common and compatible goals, agree to work together for a particular purpose and/or for some period of time. Before you enter a partnership/collaboration the following should be addressed...
Vision and purpose: The institutions need a clear sense of why they are entering the collaboration. What can they each contribute to it?
Mutual benefit: What will each get out of it? Why should this be done? Identify what value there is in the partnership and how each will benefit. It has to be a clear value-added and win-win for each institution.
Commitment: There has to be a strong desire within the institutions and at all levels for the institutions. They have to be willing to learn and to share.
Time: Both institutions have to be willing and prepared to take the time necessary to make the partnership work. There is no quick and easy way to successful partnering.
Capacity: The institutions need to have the capacity to enter a partnership. If you are stretched to the limit now, you need to figure out how you can incorporate the additional work.
Culture: Your institution's culture has to be able to welcome new people and new ideas. The institutional culture is best defined as the beliefs, values, norms, and philosophies that guide how the organization operates. The different cultural backgrounds of the individuals and groups within the institution bring different languages, customs, beliefs, and ways of doing things.
Goals: Are there clear and concise goals, both short and long term that are compatible with who the institutions are?
Funding: Partnerships may create some additional expenses for the institutions. Are you prepared for these costs?
Membership: Who are the people who should be part of the collaboration? Members should be selected based upon their “stake” or role in achieving the goals of the collaboration. The power of collaboration comes from inclusion not exclusion. They should include those who have the formal power to make a decision, those who have the power to block a decision, those affected by the decision, and those with relevant information or expertise to meet the goals.
Roles and responsibilities: Is there a recognition of the importance of each member’s role and delineated responsibilities so the load is equally shared?
As you move into a collaboration there should be an understanding of the different levels or rings of involvement that the institutions may need to utilize to be successful. (How to Make Collaboration Work, David Straus, 2002)
The Wilder Research group and Morten Hansen have two different assessment tools that may be used in determining the readiness to collaborate. The Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory (Mattessich, P., Murray-Close, M., & Monsey, B. (2001). Wilder Collaboration Factors Inventory. St. Paul, MN: Wilder Research) is available for use with permission at:
http://www.wilder.org/Wilder-Research/Research-Services/Pages/Wilder-Collaboration-Factors-Inventory.aspx This is the free online version which includes scoring.
System colleges and universities are participating in different types of collaboration, many of which are recognized in the SharePoint site that is organized by the following areas to support sharing of resources. In order to access the resource area, you will be asked to enter your username for Office 365 which is [your StarID]@mnscu.edu and your StarID password.