Blog 3: The art of collaboration 3: Long-distance


Effective collaboration is an art.

Collaboration can also be an voyage and sometimes even a science. Whatever describes collaboration best, as a process it is hardly ever effort-less.

In this third update on the art of collaboration I propose that it is also a form of heavy-duty multitasking that gets extra complicated when trying to do it long-distance.

According to Ben Tiggelaar there are a couple of things you need to pay attention to when working in a team on long-distance.

(Actually, I think that you will do good in also paying attention to these issues when you are in the same office space. )

1. Long-distance communication requires smart tools.

So be sure to have the appropriate apps, fast internet and access to all the information you need to get a job done. And use them! Not only to be aware of what your team members are doing, but also to be connected when they need some feedback or have a question. There should be no technological barriers to communication.

2. Be aware to share all your human resources.

When you are in a multistakeholder, multidisciplinary and multicultural project, building good understanding and friendly connections is going to save. When you know about personal perceptions and character traits, professional expertise is so much easier to interpret.

3. When you are the leader, BE the leader.

It really helps to have someone lead the way and make clear choices when in a (col)laborynth. Agree on the rules of the game together and set your deadlines.

4. In entering any kind of partnership, trust is key.

When you have to navigate a complex issue together and you are not in the same place or speak the same language, it is easy to have misunderstandings and minor conflicts. Again, building more than just a working relationship is needed to make a long-distance collaboration work.

Of course, there’s no better way to test this advice than to go out and try it.

I will be in Thailand and Indonesia for the LIQUID project until early January, so probably quite long-distance for most of you. Nevertheless… always open to collaboration 🙂