Helping projects succeed through the behaviours of authentic collaboration

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    Critical Friend Program for large projects

    It's often not WHAT we do that trips up a project, it's the HOW we do it.

    After many years working with organisations to build collaborative cultures, I know what works and where things go wrong. So I've developed a Critical Friend Program that is used in large scale projects with high stakes outcomes.


    The Critical Friend program sets the foundation for deep, professional trust and conversations that bring about connection, transformation and authentic collaboration. Regular check ins with the senior project team and others


    KEY OUTCOMES- Critical Friend Program

    - continued building of collaborative capacity in individuals and in the project group as a whole

    - mitigation of slippage, misunderstandings and blockages through authentic dialogue and behaviours

    - trusted advisor to help guide the partnership

    - ‘point of need’ discussion and capability building


    I come in using four critical friend stances:


    SENSEMAKER - asks clarifying questions; identifies key issues; signposts directions and forward actions


    PROVOCATEUR - poses challenges to existing thinking, habitual assumptions and ways of working that are not providing forward momentum


    EDUCATOR - provides tools; thinking; reading to deepen collaborative skill within the group; shares expertise and thought leadership on collaboration and authentic dialogue


    FACILITATOR - leads discussions that explores issues and leads to resolution





    Collaboration Continuum by Tracey Ezard

    Is Your Collaboration at the right level for the outcomes you are after?


    Authentic collaboration is hard work, but so fruitful when it occurs!

    Some of the challenges experienced in complex, multi-stakeholder projects:



    - establishing mutual trust

    - talking about the 'elephants in the room'

    - an environment festers where the deeper issues are avoided or dealt with in silos as ‘healthy’ conflict has been a challenge to create

    - the challenges within the project are not discussed informally or formally, leading to distrust, a blame approach and siloed decisions

    - assumptions about intent

    - having no forums for candid conversations

    - differing agendas arising as the project evolves

    - linear project management approaches and mindset versus the flexibility that stretch collaboration requires