4 Questions to Ask & Answer When Engaging in Cross-Sector Collaboration

4 Questions to Ask & Answer When Engaging in Cross-Sector Collaboration

For some reason, there is a pervasive belief that people and organizations know how to engage in cross-sector collaborations.  As my colleague Chris Thompson likes to remind me, in 2006, the the Council on Competitiveness aptly described cross-sector collaboration as an "unnatural act among non-consenting adults."  So, why does the myth persist that organizations and their representatives who participate in collaborations don't need to change their behaviors to engage in collaboration?  And why do many funders continue to invest in collaborations, but often forego investing in the skills, capacities, structures, and processes of the collaborators?

I wish I knew.  Instead, I'm going to share what I do know -- 4 questions to ask before engaging in cross-sector collaboration.

5 Practical Resources on Cross-Sector Leadership & Collaboration

5 Practical Resources on Cross-Sector Leadership & Collaboration

Since 2003, my work has involved building and staffing, providing technical support to and building the leadership capacity of cross-sector collaborations.  Even in 2003 the idea wasn’t new – organizations had been working together across boundaries for decades – however there weren’t a lot of practical resources on building effective collaborations. In the last 10 years, that’s changed a lot.  So, I figured I’d share some of my favorite practical resources and recommend a few websites where you can go deeper on cross-sector leadership and collaboration

Portraits of Women Around the World

Portraits of Women Around the World

Today is International Women's Day, a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. I wanted to honor this day by sharing some of my favorite photographs I've taken over the last 18 months of women all over the world.  Some of these women I know, while others were strangers who caught my eye.  They live on four continents and reflect the diversity, beauty, creativity, resilience, strength, and intelligence of women.

And while I celebrate these women, International Women's Day is also  a call to action for accelerating gender parity in the United States and around the world.  

In Praise of Process (and Process Deejays)

In Praise of Process (and Process Deejays)

Throughout my career, I’ve collaborated with colleagues, board members, executives, grantees, and clients who have lamented process, saying there’s too much of it, it’s too slow, it’s too painful.

And reflecting back on it recently, I was struck by something – process is an easy scapegoat when people don’t want to do the work.  As opposed to the status quo, process is time consuming and it requires learning and changing. 

But I think there’s another reason that process gets a bad rap.  It gets pigeon-holed as arduous and dull, and many people think it only describes a small set of ways of working.

I beg to differ.