Collaboration Tip #3: Connect as Human Beings


Michael Porter coined the term “shared value” but creating that kind of value starts by creating real human connection, building trust, finding shared purpose. Institutions don’t collaborate, people do. The people at the table matter as much or more than the institutions they represent. They must come to see that they themselves, as well as their institutions, will derive value. Will this collaboration enhance their career? Open up new possibilities, earn them acclaim?

They have to see value such that they will invest their personal social capital in seeing the collaboration succeed.  What is personal social capital? Inviting their friends and colleagues to also collaborate. Will they email or call someone on behalf of the collaboration? That’s the ultimate test of whether or not they’re truly invested.


The social capital sweet spot.


Who has worked across sectors?

Who has earned trust across sectors?

Who is willing to extend their own personal social capital?


Beyond that, once they’re in the room, they need to feel three things: inclusion, mastery, intimacy. Inclusion: do I belong here? Will my ideas be accepted or rejected by the group? Mastery: do I have something of value to add? Will my presence or lack thereof really make a difference? Intimacy can I trust my co-creators?


If you can jump these hurdles – getting people to feel so vested that they’ll spend their personal social capital and making them feel so included that they experience a real connection to the collaboration and to each other – then you have something that may last.

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