Relationships, Part 30: Maintaining Collaboration

repairSo much more can be accomplished with collaboration than without it. It’s vital that we do what we can to maintain it. Here are ten guidelines to help maintain a healthy collaboration:
1. Results matter more than feelings- Listening to your associate and speaking up for yourself is nice, but, when all is said or done, a collaboration is successful because of the results, not because of any warm, fuzzy feelings.
2. Do your part- In a collaboration; your responsibilities are unilateral; not mutual, reciprocal, or conditional. Your associate’s bad behavior does not excuse your bad behavior.
3. Repair, don’t blame- If your collaboration has crashed, then reestablishing it is more important than why it crashed. Finding blame gets in the way of repairing it.
4. Take responsibility for your failings- Pay attention to when you violate your collaboration. The more sensitive we are to others not doing their part; the more insensible we are when we are not doing ours.
5. Don’t over react- How you feel is not the point. Getting nervous that your associate will violate the collaboration does not entitle you to drop your end. Live up to your responsibilities. Whether your feelings are understandable or not doesn’t change anything.
6. Don’t expect to feel fine all the time- Collaborations don’t always feel good. Sometimes collaborations require confronting, challenging, and refusing to accommodate your associate’s requests. Also, a collaboration does not mean always making your associate feel good, validated, safe, or secure. Collaborations are all about results, not feelings. If your alliance is all about making people feel particular ways, then it is collusive, not collaborative.
7. Be real- Be open and honest so that your associate can know your thoughts. When we ask someone to overlook our shortcomings and overlook theirs, we have a collusive alliance, not a collaborative one.
8. Stay real- Collaborations never involve going blind about your partner, yourself, or what’s going on between you. Everyone keeps their eyes open.
9. Hang in there- Collaborations test your integrity. A collaboration that’s kept only when it is convenient is worthless.
10. Confront yourself first- If you think your collaboration has problems, confront yourself first. Your primary responsibility is to keep yourself on course. Confronting your associate can be risky, so take a look at yourself before you accuse him or her of violating the collaboration. Have you strayed from these guidelines?
Many of the problems we have in relationships are solved when we maintain and repair the collaboration that lives at the heart of them. It is not necessary that two people in a relationship think exactly alike; that is impossible. What is necessary is that they cherish their alliance.
Click here to go to the entire Relationships series.

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