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At the 2011 National Summit for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector I heard a tongue-in-cheek debate on the topic: Be it resolved that closer collaboration within the sector does not produce better outcomes. Dr. Roger Gibbins, president and CEO of Canada West Foundation, gamely spoke in favour of the resolution and surprisingly, in a world that highly values collaboration, came up with some really good points!

Nine problems with collaboration

If you want to collaborate with others, and I think you should, then here are the issues you will have to deal with in order to do it successfully:

  1. Collaboration weakens brand and identity
  2. Collaboration takes a lot of time
  3. A single voice is not as effective as a thousand voices
  4. We’re after the same money
  5. Mantra is “Focus, focus, focus!” but collaboration is “Abandon focus and join us”
  6. Collaboration blunts nuances
  7. If knowledge is your capital, collaboration weakens your uniqueness
  8. Collaboration is a top down process
  9. Collaboration forces you to middle ground which is not usually the best position

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