More C Words To Add To The Collaboration Basket

By now you will know that we at Twyfords use a lot of words that begin with the letter C. The quick baker’s dozen offered up in our book “Power of ‘Co’ ” include: coordinate, cooperate, contribute, consult, connect, compromise, communicate, common, commitment, collective, cohesion, coefficient and of course the crucial one collaboration.

This blog is about adding a couple of other C words to the collaboration basket. The journey of collaboration can often be challenging and tiring as well as rewarding and exhilarating. So it pays to fill your basket with as many tips as you can to ensure you can stay the distance and benefit from the ultimate solutions agreed by participants.


Too often we take a gap analysis to our complex challenges. We focus on what is wrong and broken. Unfortunately negativity kills creativity. It is important therefore in a collaborative process where we are after creative solutions to focus on what is working in addition to noticing what isn’t.

Celebration is related to the foundational principle of employing an appreciative mindset to collaborate. Being appreciative includes praising publicly, rejoicing in and honouring people’s contributions. This all adds to the fuel that keeps a collaborative process running.

When we collaborate we are rightly very focused on the ultimate solutions. It is also important to notice and celebrate the wins along the way to these solutions. Outputs get delivered on a collaborative journey that can be overlooked in our binary logic of have we fixed the original problem or not. Outputs like increased trust, new knowledge, new services and new skills are all valuable wins in a collaborative process. Rejoice in these.


Cadence is about finding the beat that can be sustained over a period of time. Cyclists search for the perfect cadence to get up challenging hills and to make it to the end of endurance rides. The aim is not to burn out on the first few hills but to find the pace that can carry you to the end.

Participants in collaborative processes similarly need to find a pace of activity that can be sustained. Finding this rhythm isn’t easy and is particularly challenging when people used to a Business as Usual approach want to rush to solutions. At Twyfords we say it is useful to “go slow to go fast.” This means finding a pace at the start of the collaborative journey that will equip you to speed down the hills at solution creation time.

Finding a sustainable pace is related to the foundational principle of creating sufficient space and time for learning. Design of the collaborative process is important to find the necessary cadence. Structure things so people can contribute seriously yet lightly so burn out doesn’t happen. Find that balance where you push to maintain momentum but you are not so aggressive that people turn away. Use celebration to help find the cadence.

Summary tips for your collaboration basket are:

1) Build celebration into your collaborative process. Make it okay to praise publicly and highlight the positives.
2) Notice and celebrate the small gains along the way.
3) Find cadence to sustain the collaborative journey.

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