Having worked in the sector for some years now, I have heard the phrase “you need to work collaboratively” thrown around like it is something simple, that we should just get on and ‘do’.

But is it really that simple?

History tells me, that if I just find some quiet space, block out some time, and do the planning myself, that it will be more efficient to get the work done.  Besides, we all have KPIs to meet right?

Besides… it’s too hard to get everyone together at the same time.

BUT…. Experience tells me, that when I mix my brain, with the brains of others, the overall result is far more creative, and much better resourced, and I don’t have to do everything myself.

So, what’s the big deal?  Well there are a few barriers to get over:

  1. Letting go of personal attachments, to doing it ‘my’ way
  2. Letting go of a sense of ownership and control over ‘your’ project
  3. Having the ability to be transparent about your agenda
  4. Despite your agenda, being open to change, and open to ideas different to your own
  5. Being brave enough to discuss frustrations and learn from it
  6. Letting others contribute

But most of all….

Remembering that it’s about the community, and not about YOU, or your agency

The beauty of collaborating means a shared ability to communicate, plan, develop, and create.  It means shared ownership, and with that comes shared risks.  Overall it means that our community get to experience a coordinated system that makes their life a little easier, where they don’t have to jump through so many hoops to get the support they so desperately need.

My advice???

Next time someone invites you to collaborate, sit back, have a coffee, talk openly, be solutions focused and above all else, be open to working in a different way for the sake of our communities.  The alternative is that we are still discussing this in another 10 years.

Jodie Robertson – SociaLink