Principles of Collaboration Between Unlikely Allies

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What are some challenges of collaboration?

  • Collaboration skills/capacity of participants
  • Communicating values
  • Compromise
  • Unequal power dynamics
  • Lack of trust
  • Bad faith/uncertain of intent

It was surprising to see how many of our post-its came under the category of "communicating values." A key question: "How can we find common ground/values with people who have different values and beliefs?"

Question: of the issues listed above, is there a natural order for facing them? For example, maybe we have to address "power dynamics" first, to make safe space for "communicating values," which lays the groundwork for building "collaboration skills/capacity"? (We didn't resolve this question.)

To work well together we need some "shared emotional literacy." But let's acknowledge that there are cultural differences here - my interpersonal skills may look different from yours.

Don't assume that people are acting in bad faith if you don't have to. Also possible that we just don't understand why they're doing what they're doing.

Most important takeaway might be: to collaborate with unlikely allies we have to be very clear on the greater good - i.e. our shared goals and values. (Do we also need clearly shared strategies for reaching those goals? Maybe not; but if we're agreeing to pursue divergent strategies we must at least be clear that THAT's our plan.)