Collaboration can grease the wheels for enhanced program outcomes

Posted on February 02, 2012 by Pam Truitt

I was inspired by Hal Williams, whom I had the privilege to hear last week at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Nonprofit Forum.

Williams is a guide and resource to foundations, governments, and individuals who invest to improve human lives and conditions—and for nonprofit and community organizations that use their money to create tangible human gain.

a can-do guy and reminded me that humans like to build complexity into the world and are then dismayed when challenges are too complex to solve.

Williams was really saying, yes, the world is complex, but the language of outcomes has been replaced with negatives.  And then there’s the collaboration piece.

Williams is convinced—and he has the experience to prove it—that accountability, compliance, monitoring, reporting and evaluation words have overcome the process of changing the world, zapping our motivation to reach beyond.

If those negative words are replaced by positives— outcome, milestone targets, goal, output, short-term change, differences, measures, result, objective, indicator, achievements—human gains will actually be made.

Amazing. He’s right, of course, and I didn’t even see it coming.

How much fun is it to rise with the sun knowing that they day is going to be spent being accountable and compliant? I was born to save the world and make a difference, so just shoot me now!

Williams also talked about the differences of the “c” words — cooperation, coordination, communication and collaboration. This really hit home with me.

Communication, Cooperation, Coordination – about harmonizing and agreeing.

Collaboration – about creating a solution that no party to the collaboration could separately achieve.

Genuine collaborations require differences and the ability to harness the differences.

The article on Collaboration vs. The Three C’s is insightful and is a wake-up call to those who believe they are making a difference, but are not creating new realities.

Creating new realities is what The Patterson Foundation’s Collaborative Restructuring Initiative is all about, and it starts with authentic conversations around ‘what could be’….

Can collaboration grease the wheels of complex community challenges?   What do you think?


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