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Collaboration Challenges

Address the power of imbalance to improve performance

Associations often collaborate with other organizations to achieve important goals, but those initiatives can fail if an uncomfortable conversation doesn’t happen at the start of the partnership.

“Great collaborations between organizations achieve more than either organization could achieve by itself,” writes Jon Huggett in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. “But when nonprofit collaborations don’t talk about power and address the implications of power imbalances openly, each party runs the risk of stumbling into (or contributing to) an ugly, counterproductive situation.”

Huggett identifies three types of power struggles where one entity feels the other is “bad,” “sad,” or “mad.” He also provides steps for a successful collaboration, including setting clear goals.

“Clear, concrete goals empower collaborators to make decisions on their own, whereas when goals are fuzzy, participants need to ask approval from those with power,” he writes.

Please select this link to read the article from Associations Now.

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