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Ben Butler's 10 top tips for collaboration

Posted on 5 Jan 2015

One of the best things about SVW is that it's a great chance to look beyond the boundaries of your campus and work with other colleges, universities, charities or businesses. And we know that we can achieve amazing things when we work together.

That being said, collaboration isn't always easy, so we asked Ben Butler, Student Development Manager at City University, to share what he's learnt about collaboration through his experience of coordinating big projects like London Student Volunteering Fortnight.

Ben's top tips

1. Understand why you are going to collaborate and what benefits you’re likely to gain from it. Otherwise it can feel like a lot of thankless work!

2. Clarify the terms of your collaboration – what does each partner need to bring to the table? Mix-ups at this stage have a tendency to multiply themselves out as the project continues.

3. Don’t ‘take control’ of the project. I requested and earned permission to be “Taskmaster General” – ensuring that people did what they said they would.

4. Meet up, in person, as frequently as your schedule will allow.

5. Have a project outline, making clear who is responsible for each action and by when. Check it weekly and follow up anything that is lagging . Set out time in your calendar to chase up agreed actions.

6. Divide into geographical regions, but ensure there’s clarification and agreement around who has ultimate say- so for what happens in your region.

7. Share out responsibilities equitably.

IMAGE: Getty Images

8. Compromise on the stuff that doesn’t matter so much – once you delegate responsibility you lose the ability to have things go exactly as you would want.

9. Thank people relentlessly.

10. Evaluate the collaboration as part of the process.

Last, but not least: Have fun – it’s hard but rewarding and when you can all claim a little bit of success it feels great!

Ben Butler

Ben is the Student Development Manager at City University London.

Categories: Advice