When Do I Matter, You Matter, and We Matter? Exploring the Pitfalls of Collaboration

As non-profit, team, and community leaders, you have been encouraged to collaborate. In fact, most of us take pride in our organizational commitment to and community culture of collaboration. And there are no shortage of articles from Forbes to Stanford  Social Innovation Review to Harvard Business Review extolling the virtues and providing guidance on collaboration.

When I asked over 60 non-profit, philanthropic, and agency leaders about what keeps them up at the night, some answered with comments like:

“sometimes not feeling confident enough to speak up when I should”

When I asked what gets them up in the morning, many answered their teams, working with collaborative partners, and the community. 

But, are we collaborating? And is collaboration always the right pathway? Who is best positioned to lead in collaboration?

We will be exploring these questions and more in the next few weeks with posts such as:

— When are we just pretending to collaborate?
— The Flipside of collaboration: When does group think lead to bad decisions?
— When are introverts ideal leaders?

In anticipation of the following series, this week, take a few moments to think about your experiences with collaboration and jot down your thoughts either in a journal or download this Collaboration Reflection Worksheet:

  1. What collaborations or coalitions have you participated in recently?
  2. What has gone well?
  3. What were some of the challenges?
  4. What was your or your organization’s role in the collaboration?
  5. What were the outcomes of the collaboration?

In the coming weeks, we will explore when and how to best leverage collaboration.