I get requests all the time from other consultants who want to “collaborate” with me. In many cases this request comes from new consultants who are just starting out and wish to connect with someone who has been around longer (and presumably has lots of clients.)
Like a good journalist searching for the story behind the story, I ask them the 5W1H questions:
- Who are you?
- What are you looking for?
- Why do you want to collaborate?
- When do you want to collaborate?
- Where do you want to collaborate?
- How do you want to collaborate?
Most requesters have great difficulty answering these questions. I ask these questions to ensure that I don’t enter into nebulous agreements that will just waste my time and go nowhere. I need specifics. While I am a believer in collaboration as a principle, I’m not crazy enough to think that collaboration for its own sake makes good business sense.
So if you are working for an organization that is beating the collaboration drum, ask these 5W1H questions of your intended collaborators. You may be surprised at the lack of specifics that show up in the answers. My advice is to hold off until you get the meaty specifics of collaboration!