The Seven C’s:Questions for Partners
James Austin’s The Collaboration Challenge presents the seven C’s of strategic collaboration.The following, reproduced with permission from The Collaboration Challenge, are questions you can use to assess an alliance against the seven C’s.
Connection with Purpose and People
• To what extent are individuals personally and emotionally connected to the social purpose of the collaboration?
• Have individuals been able to touch, feel, and see the social value of the collaboration?
• What level and what quality of interaction exist among senior leaders?
• To what extent do personal connections and interactions occur at other levels across the partnering organizations?
• How strong are interpersonal bonds?
Clarity of Purpose
• What is the purpose of the collaboration?
• Where does the relationship fall on the Collaboration Continuum (is it philanthropic,transactional, or integrative), and where does each partner want it to be?
• Have the partners escaped the gratefulness and charity syndrome?
• Do both partners have written collaboration purpose statements?
• Has each partner determined the different functions and relative importance of the partnerships already existing in its collaboration portfolio?
Congruency of mission, strategy, and values
• How well does each partner understand the other’s business?
• What are the missions, strategies, and values of each partner?
• What are the areas of current and potential overlap?
• How can each partner help the other accomplish its mission?
• To what extent is the collaboration a strategic tool for each partner?
• Have the partners engaged in shared visioning about the future?
Creation of Value
• What resources of each partner are of value to the other?
• What specific benefits will accrue to each partner from the collaboration?
• Do benefits outweigh costs and risks?
• What social value can be generated by the alliance?
• What new resources, capabilities, and benefits can be created by the collaboration?
• Are resource and capability transfer two-way?
• Are benefits equitably balanced between the partners?
• Has the value exchange and creation depreciated? If so, to what extent?
• Can the Collaboration Value Construct be renewed and enhanced?
• Is it time to end the collaboration?
Communication Between Partners
• What level of respect and trust exists between the partners?
• Is communication open and frank, and is critical communication constructive?
• How is communication between the partners managed?
• Does each partner have a partner relationship manager?
• What channels and vehicles are used to communicate internally?
• Are there potential dissenters, and can they be converted?
• How does the alliance communicate externally?
• Do the partners have a coordinated external communication strategy and program?
• Is the partnership underpublicized?
• What has each partner learned from the collaboration about how to work with another organization more effectively and create greater partner and social value?
• How has this learning been incorporated into the collaboration?
• Is there a process for routinely assessing learning from the collaboration?
• Is complacency stifling innovation?
Commitment to the Partnership
• What is the level of organizational commitment to the partnership, and how is this commitment demonstrated?
• What is the trend in investments (personal, financial, institutional) in the partnership?
• Are the partners’ expectations of one another high?
• What is the composition of each partner’s collaboration portfolio, and where does this alliance fit within those portfolios?
• Are the portfolios consistent with the partners’ collaboration capacities?