Last year (2015-2016) was the Year of Collaboration for the Vincentian Family. With all the activity and planning around the 400th anniversary, we can forget that to say #IamVincent means to do the work. Here’s the third of a three-part “reworking” of a timely article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review by Pratichi Shah. Part Three: Leadership.
Make no exceptions. Ensure that all levels of leadership align around the value of collaboration and don’t just pay it lip service. Leaders set and reinforce an organization’s message and tone, and when actions don’t match organizational messages, it creates a credibility gap. Leaders should also model collaborative behaviors by sharing information in all directions, and constantly looking for synergistic relationships internally and externally.
Empower and energize. Explicitly make it everyone’s charge — whether new member or national/international leader — to seek out and act on alliances that further the mission, and encourage creativity and experimentation. Frame collaboration as a path to effective love.
Be the rock. Internal and external collaboration can lead to new ways of working — and for some, feelings of instability. Leaders must be the constant; they must share progress and offer realistic reassurance about the future. Offer support via coaching or professional development, and work to build trust across the organization — through transparent communication and accountability — so that members can support each other.
Focusing on these pillars can help infuse collaboration into all aspects of your group, and eventually reap the rewards that come with working together. The poor will be better served
Make collaboration your culture. That’s what it means to say “I am Vincent.”