There is lots of literature these days on the benefits of internal collaboration – just Google the word.
Wikipedia defines Collaboration (from Latin com - "with" + laborare "to labor", "to work") as “ the process of two or more people, entities or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal.” Myriad articles show up regarding collaboration tools, benefits of team collaboration, and strategies to increase collaboration in the workplace. However, in today’s business environment, external collaboration might be one of the best strategies that you can invest in, especially if your organization lacks “technical capacity.”
Ask yourself the following questions:
Is your organization experiencing gaps in any of the following “technical functions,” either
because you can’t find or afford the right talent:
o Marketing and sales, especially in today’s digital marketing world
o Strategic and business planning, especially in uncertainty
o Product or program development, and taking advantage of opportunities as the
o Human resources. talent attraction and retention, especially as the workforce changes
o Financial management
o Fundraising (if you are a nonprofit) or access to capital (if you are a for-profit)
o Outcomes measurement and evaluation?
Is there a project or goal that you would like to achieve that you just can’t seem to find the time
Are you and your team feeling like you are “drowning in chaos”?
If the answer to either of these last two questions is “yes,” it is a signal that you are likely lacking
“project management” capacity in your organization in addition to other things. If you/your organization is experiencing any of these challenges, now is the time to consider “external collaboration” to help you build your “technical capacity” to adapt and change.
There are three primary approaches that can help:
1. Collaborate with a “management service organization” (MSO) consulting firm. Like Strategy
Solutions, an MSO offers the ability to augment your staff with subject matter experts within a
variety of professional disciplines or to outsource an entire function. For example, Strategy
Solutions will manage the entire marketing and fundraising activities for an organization, either
to assist a Development Director who does not have the staff or in place of an entire Marketing and
Development Department. Our strategic partner firms (Ted Wood & Associates for Capital
Campaigns, JL Nick & Associates for Human Resources, Bensur Creative Marketing (for
Marketing and Advertising and Martin Associates for Grant Writing), will manage these
individual functions or work together with our research, planning, and fundraising consultants in
an integrated approach to meet organizational needs. Or we can simply provide a project
manager to help your team develop a plan to achieve a short-term goal.
2. Collaborate with complementary firms to meet a specific technical function need. Can’t afford
to hire a CFO? Chances are there are other firms that you could collaborate with either to
“share” a CFO or a portion of a CFO’s time from a complementary organization. Over the years, I
have seen many “staff sharing” arrangements that can be quite effective for organizations.
3. Consider some administrative collaboration or consolidation or “alliance” with one or more
organizations. You don’t have to merge, give up your autonomy or brand identity to create a
“win-win” collaboration that can serve a group of organizations, even competitors. One of my
favorite examples of strong structural collaboration is HVA Senior Services, an alliance of long-
term care organizations that share a senior navigator and operate a nurse aide training program.
There are lots of opportunities for collaborative support and in this chaotic environment, maybe the
best way to access the subject matter expertise that your organization may struggle to find, afford or maintain on your own.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you “take it to the next level” in your organization through collaboration with us and our partners or another organization.