Why Aligned Values in Collaborating is Important

Collaboration can lead to success, but in order for that to happen, the values of the collaborators should be aligned. There are many reasons why businesses and organisations may want to collaborate, but aligning with the right ones can make the difference between a successful or failed project. 

There are many factors to consider when deciding to partner with a company or individual. One of the most critical factors is to ensure that both parties are aligned in terms of values. 

How does one go about discovering whether your values are aligned?

For a start, you can kick off any and all partnership discussions by placing visions and values at the top of the agenda. It is unlikely that you will find an organisation with identical expectations, but you want to look for synergies. Concentrate on your way of thinking and what you’re both aiming to achieve, then identify mutual values in terms of your operations and processes.

When entering into collaboration, you are essentially working with another entity to share resources and skills to create something of bigger value or impact. Some of the questions you may want to prepare for your first meeting include:

  • What do we want to achieve through this collaboration?
  • How can we create value for our shared client group?
  • What does our collaboration bring to each organisation?
  • Can we agree on a plan and process as a blueprint for working together?

Encountering conflicts when working with a partner or organisation is not uncommon, and will almost definitely happen along the way. If you have worked on answering the above questions together, you can always refer back to your shared vision of values if or when things become a bit tricky.

Finding complementary partners to collaborate with is key to keeping those business relationships on the right track. For this reason, you will need to be selective about the pool of companies you consider. If you’re a small to medium enterprise, then it will be beneficial to pair up with entrepreneurial organisations with similar company cultures. 

Although entrepreneurial companies usually move fast to take advantage of fast-moving market opportunities, in larger companies process and bureaucracy are also prioritized, to manage complex business operations and global market reach. Whilst both types of companies might value innovation and agility in different ways, their values can unite them as much as their differences can enhance shared potential.

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How can you tackle any differences to achieve great value through your collaboration? 

You can collectively create a guide for operating principles. Your guidelines and principles should speak closely to the values and align with behaviours. Some examples of these can be:

  • Always put the client first and aim to give added value. 
  • Deadlines are not recommendations and should be met punctually..
  • Communicate openly, honestly, proactively, and timely.
  • Be decisive in good times, take team ownership and act with rationality.
  • Problems happen, face them fast and fix them.

Perhaps you’re already in a collaborative partnership with an organisation, or you’re finding it challenging to align with other departments at your current place of work. Consider seeking to correct or improve the business relationship with these key tips to driving change:

1. Workshop shared objectives

By developing a set of shared goals with others, you ensure that there are agreed service levels that you can align to for a shared measure for success. 

If all parties understand what they are aiming to achieve and what that should look like, then accountability measures can be put in place against each metric. If results for a project affect the success of each person’s role, then all members of a team are likely to embrace the spirit of collaboration.

When there is shared accountability with projects, initiatives, or critical metrics, then companies and teams become more aligned and collaborative as all people have a vested interest in the end result. 

2. Communicate consistently and clearly

If you’re working with a team within or outside of your organisation, then you will need to be intentional about staying in touch. You should not be hiding behind your ‘desk’ whether it be remote or in an office. It can be tempting to work on tasks alone, but this should not always be the case. When collaborating, you have to embrace the culture of sharing.

You can plan for connection by setting weekly or regular connect meetings to cover all necessary points of connection on projects. This will ensure that work is being done across the board and that others can pick up on or request items that are needed to achieve the outcomes for the project at hand. The goal is to work with one another, and this means assisting where needed.

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3. Share insights and learnings

In order to achieve the goals more effectively, every part of the team should have a platform and space to share their knowledge. This includes what they know about products or services, cross-functionally, and any other piece of knowledge that will help achieve success. The more insights collaborators can share with one another the more synchronised the working efforts will be, and ultimately the more successful the working relationship will be. 

4. Be aligned on the end user experience

Collaborations are great for attracting new and retaining existing clients. After all, customers are the main reason that any company exists. 

So, aligning on the customer experience is critical to improving collaboration. It is important that all players are able to share ways to enhance their experience and make it more impactful and unique. 

Once both companies or all team members are aligned around the customer, there will be a clear understanding of the critical factors needed to achieve the ultimate experience. Then collaboration will start to increase.

Shared values guide the behaviours to collaborate effectively. Together, the alignment of vision and values gives the partnership the impetus to solve problems together, overcome obstacles, and collaborate to create the desired results.

At Velvet Collab, we are huge believers in collaborating with companies that share our ethos and vision for businesses. Learn more about our awesome partner network of companies and how together we can help you do business better, and more efficiently.

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