Meta Collab

While working on my Gaia University Master's degree In January 2008, I assessed nine of my ongoing collaborative projects according to their level of collaboration, progress towards stated goals, and general ease and enjoyment. I also analyzed the collaborative teams involved in each project using the Four Quadrants of Collaboration framework.

From this analysis and assessment, I distilled a set of principles/directives that can be used to create and guide and effective collaboration. Like the Four Quadrants of Collaboration, the Principles of Collaboration are organized by the Four Quadrants framework. To learn more about the Four Quadrants, refer to the articles on Ken Wilber and Integral Theory on Wikipedia.

Principles of Collaboration 4Q v1 0

I would like your feedback and reflections on these principles. Which ones are useful? What’s missing? What’s overstated? Is there a different way these might be organized or presented to make them more useful? Here's a link to a survey on these principles.

First 25 Principles

Upper Left Quadrant: Internal Perspectives, Goals, and Abilities

• Choose collaborators who align well in the UL and LL quadrants.

• Carefully co-articulate realistic goals for the project and gut-check them deeply.

• Refer to articulated goals and observe outcomes to encourage continued commitment and participation.

• Clarify, agree upon, and reclarify collaborators’ roles and responsibilities in the project.

• Carefully examine expectations and assumptions when proposing collaborations.

• Openly and clearly determine commitment to the project, at regular intervals.

• Ensure strong pre-existing self-interest in the content of the project.

• Include a diversity commitment levels for collaborators in the project: Some deeply excited and committed, others informally and loosely connected, others committed to some structured requirements to engage & interact.

• Take care of your self! Compassionately and lovingly support your own internal well-being, because it is completely interconnected with all other realms of being.

• (add your own here…)

Lower Left Quadrant: Community, Communication, and Culture

• Value, establish, and maintain clear and effective communication between collaborators.

• Co-articulate goals of the collaboration itself, along with goals of the project.

• Listen carefully and deeply to potential collaborators from the beginning.

• Collaborate with people whose internal turmoils (like anger) do not trigger your own, or make sure an agreed-upon process exists for working through them.

• Work with people you have fun with!

• (add your own here…)

Upper Right Quadrant: Physical Location, Concrete Outcomes, Individual Skills

• Locate collaborators physically close to each other to facilitate constant and relaxed communication.

• Create and clearly communicate mutually exciting, practical and valuable outcomes for collaborators.

• Build collaborative teams with complementary skills in specific fields.

• Include collaborators with extensive experience in the project field.

• Design collaborations with enough people to ensure project vitality if people drop out.

• (add your own here…)

Lower Right Quadrant: External Systems

• Use simple & familiar technological/computer/communication systems.

• When challenging or tense situations arise, communicate face-to-face or by phone – not through email.

• Align economic, social and other external systems needs so that benefits of the project are realized for all collaborators involved.

• Co-convene projects with a large pool of potential collaborators, and conversely, work to ensure that those being invited are directly interested in participating. In other words, cast a large net AND have some top-of-the-line single lures.

• Identify and quickly remedy any technological barriers to communication.

• Discuss & agree on communication styles early in the collaboration process.

• (add your own here…)

New Principles

Newly suggested principles from the survey results as of September, 2008.

Upper Left Quadrant: Internal Perspectives, Goals, and Abilities

• Evaluate level of self-interest in the content of the project as project progresses.

• Be pragmatic about the time you have available for the collaboration.

• Determine and communicate the personal objectives & agendas of each individual so that open communication and honesty is possible.

• Discern between "wants" and "real needs" in order to meet your real needs. Use group communication tools, such as Re-evaluation Counseling, Non-Violent Communication, and floor work in Forum-Zegg Style, to explore and create transparency in group expectations and assumptions.

• Create a realizability of personal goals within the wider framework of collaboration.

Lower Left Quadrant: Community, Communication, and Culture

• Design diversity of age, experience level, and passion etc. into the collaboration.

• Use reflections during communication periodically to do a reality check on assumptions.

• Use appreciation circles.

• Acknowledge people's gifts

• Establish agreements on: value of and process for feedback

• Agree on decision-making processes

• Celebrate together at milestone and at the end of the project.

• Establish a simple conflict-resolution process at the beginning of the project.

• Work as a group to to draw out & celebrate each individuals’ expertise & passions

• Recognize Collaboration is a process of acceptance of all beings in the now. Recognize cultural misperceptions and control patterns.

• Establish a state of flux in the collaboration - allow change to take place!

• At times, work with those who trigger an emotional response or turmoil – this can be extremely useful.

• Establish a strategy to work through restimulations that come up.

• Work with people with whom you have a natural synergy and commitment to the process of working together gracefully.

Upper Right Quadrant: Physical Location, Concrete Outcomes, Individual Skills

• Develop co-leadership by encouraging collaborators to follow desires and spend time doing other people's jobs; This fosters a sense of appreciation and growth.

• Have a workspace/resource center (virtual or physical) that everyone can easily access.

• Find a specialist communicator to draw out all the very fine issues that are often hidden and are often ignored. This communicator is vital to allow all the festering issues to come to the table.

• Recognize life as process, each step to be honored respectfully no matter the outcome(s).

• Build teams with individual interest in/for the common goal!

Lower Right Quadrant: External Systems

• Start by identifying and honoring the diversity of the team members.

• Use simple techniques at the outset to be sure that everyone contributes immediately. (If a person is "silent," they may stay silent, drop out, or become resentful.)

• Face to face meetings are critical...but always have an observer or listener to ensure clarification of discussion.

• Increase flexibility by pattern language understanding and plan with the Mayan Calendar and Moon Rhythms. Educate Collaborators for self-facilitation in verbal styles and facilitation. When casting large nets ensure collaborative communication.

• Have fun!