Lets be clear here, if there is just one of you there is no collaboration.
So on the basis that collaboration requires at least two parties there is an essential pre-requisite that has to be fully developed within the mindset of all potential collaborators!
This is not the joint outcome, nor it is the Relationship Management Plan. Its not even the potential gain to be made as a result of working collaboratively and delivering extra value for the client. The essential pre-requisite is none of the above.
On the basis that two or more parties are choosing to collaborate to find a synergistic solution to a deliver a client’s objective the essential pre-requisite is the attitude of the collaborators to each other.
The best way I can think of describing what I mean here is the Maturity Continuum as described by Dr. Stephen R. Covey in his best selling work, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.
For a collaborative relationship to be effective the essential pre-requisite is that all parties come from an INTERDEPENDENCE mindset. Choosing to be INTERDEPENDENT is a choice only INDEPENDENT people can make. People that have achieved INDEPENDENCE in life may see this level of achievement as the ultimate, as having achieved Self-Mastery. The fact that two or more INDEPENDENT people can achieve something much greater by choosing to be INTERDEPENDENT is a revelation to most.
Before a person achieves INDEPENDENCE they are in a state of DEPENDENCE where they rely on others for what they require to exist. A DEPENDENT person cannot operate from a mindset of INTERDEPENDENCE as they have not developed the character of an INDEPENDENT person.
This is important in the field of Collaborative Behaviour as with each level of maturity comes a set of behaviours.
People that are Dependent tend to demonstrate COLLUSIVE behaviours. These people rely on others for what they need and hence they go along with what others want, not wanting to rock the boat for fear of depriving themselves of a livelihood.
People that are Independent tend to demonstrate COMPETITIVE behaviours. These people have the confidence to put themselves forward as being able to deliver a solution and believe they have the resources to compete against others to ensure they win the race.
People that are Interdependent tend to demonstrate COLLABORATIVE behaviours. These people recognise that by choosing to collaborate with others a truly synergistic solution can be delivered. These people recognise that by working effectively with others the synergistic solution is far greater than anything they could deliver by themselves.
Being INTERDEPENDENT and being COLLABORATIVE is a choice made by independent people that truly understand there is only so much that can be achieved by themselves – true greatness and success lies in working effectively with others.