Collaboration allows partners to accomplish together that which cannot be achieved alone. As a strategy to solve shared problems or to meet common challenges, collaboration is an oft-celebrated tool across many sectors. The point of collaboration is not to join forces because it feels good or because it is easy; the point of collaboration is to join forces because the anticipated end result clearly relates to the shared purpose and goals of the participants.

Yet, effective and efficient collaborations can be excruciatingly difficult to develop, implement, and sustain. Work with multiple stakeholders requires that facilitators help to create clear expectations, to foster information sharing, to ensure follow through on problem-solving, and to track progress. Facilitating collaboration requires organizing all stakeholders around a common purpose that is congruent with desired outcomes and intersecting ambitions. This is hard, slow-moving, highly iterative work.

Most individuals who engage in collaborative work genuinely believe that work is valuable to their organizations. Yet, few are trained to engage in this work effectively. This white paper offers conceptual and practical tools to help collaborators and their collaborations succeed. Our goal is to provide practitioners, administrators, assessment professionals, and organizational partners with an integrated framework to help identify and align the people, tools, and processes necessary for collaborative efforts.