Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Simple steps for leading collaborative initiatives

It was one of those dark and stormy, sleepless nights.  Ideas racing at a million miles an hour, and my last post churning around in the back of my mind.  Out popped a few simple steps for collaborative projects.

My inclination has been to talk, ask about issues, seek collaborators, try to find common ground, and develop practices for collaborative action.  Things have gone slowly.  These new steps are a bit different.

  1. ! Do
  2. - Invite
  3. > Develop
  4. \/  Evolve

! Do  -  what you can

Don't get caught up planning things for others to do.  And don't stress yourself stretching beyond your own capacity.

Don't worry too much about waiting to get everyone on board first - this can come later.

'You' does not need to be you individually, but if the initiative doesn't resonate really strongly initially, don't expend energy trying to get people to partner with you.

- Invite  -  specific opportunities

Make specific invitations for modest opportunities to collaborate, and general invitations to participate (with a specific 'opt in' attached).  Don't push too hard, don't expect big leaps from collaborators, and don't be afraid to tell it how it is to get the job done in the early days.

> Develop  -  deeper engagement

As the project matures, interest grows and collaborators are more familiar, gradually enable deeper engagement in the project.

Most collaborative initiatives seem to get stuck with a few key organisers, and a host of others whose keenness grows... only to whither as they don't have opportunities to move beyond relatively minor engagement

\/ Evolve  -  roles and project

It will be possible to evolve to a more collaborative partnership only as others gradually develop deeper engagement.  The roles of participants, and the nature of the project itself, will need to evolve to better reflect the energy and resources of the community.

You really need to step back and accept that it's not 'yours' anymore.

I initially sketched this post way back in January.  I'm pleased to confirm the Simple Four Step is working pretty well so far in 2013!  A few small collaborative initiatives here at the Majoran Distillery are coming along well, and CoCreate Adelaide is taking on real momentum.

I'm going to claim it validated.  Bam.


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