Collaboration is essential for community health improvement. But experience shows that collaboration can fall short if there are strategy gaps between the partners. We can improve our chances for success by considering five strategic keys at the front end of collaboration
1. Shared Vision
Effective collaboration requires that all partners share a vision of the purpose, scope, culture, design, funding, and success indicators for the project. Ask: How does each collaborating partner view this project? Do we share a common vision, or are there differences to discuss?
2. Compatible Missions
Collaborating partners should have missions that are compatible, and not in conflict. Ask: Are our missions compatible? Are there any differences in mission that could influence our collaboration.
3. Compatible Service Populations
Service populations may vary across partners based on geography, demographics, health status, financial status, program enrollment, and other factors. Ask: What populations do the collaborating organizations serve? What populations do we share? Are there any differences in service population that could influence our collaboration?
4. Compatible Stakeholders
Think of your stakeholders as the constellation of funders, service partners, competitors, consumers, and other stakeholders that influence your strategy. Ask: Who are our respective funders, service partners, etc.? Is there anything in our stakeholder mix that could influence our collaboration?
5. Committed Leadership
Committed leadership is essential for effective collaboration. Without it, the collaboration is likely to fall short or fail over time. Ask: Do we have strong leadership commitment from the collaborating organizations? If not, what can we do to gain support from key leaders?