As opposed to compromise (where everyone loses something), collaboration is a win-win for all involved. It is not easy to achieve. It takes thoughtful focus on satisfying common goals and the ability to suspend judgment. It takes time and commitment, and is most suitable when the potential outcomes are significant and require an interdependent, connected approach.

For project teams to be successful in collaborating, the team leader needs to understand the benefits of collaboration. The leader must facilitate team learning about the value of collaborating and hold the group accountable for practicing the principles listed below.

 Principles of Collaboration

  1. Listen intensely to understand all perspectives; to share one’s honest viewpoint; to get issues details out on the table; and to objectively review data.
  2. Develop strong professional relationships so that high levels of trust and rapport are built. Suspend titles and organizational roles.
  3. Engage in participative dialogue and find a common purpose and language for learning and communicating. Construct guiding principles for decision making and promote participation.
  4. Provide equal access to information. All work is open and accessible to everyone. There is a common work process with equivalent assumptions and understanding of agreements.
  5. Guarantee cooperation, engagement and ownership. Rewards are for the group, not for individuals. There is no competitive “win – lose” mentality.