Beyond Inked Agreements: Why People Matter in Collaborations

agreements people
Signing a contract - Piet Verhoeve

The ink-drying moment of a contract signing is often associated with a joyous celebration, a landmark event initiating the commencement of a collaboration. It is a widely accepted notion that true partnership begins only once the formal agreement has been inked. However, is this the complete picture?

Let's step back and contemplate for a moment. The contract, an important milestone indeed, is essentially signed between organizations. But does collaboration happen between organizations, or is it a symbiosis between people?

Here's where I beg to differ from the conventional narrative. Collaboration is about people, and for this to blossom, time must be devoted upfront for individuals to become acquainted with each other. This crucial aspect is, more often than not, overlooked in the hustle and bustle of kickstarting a partnership.

In many scenarios, those who've sowed the seeds of partnership or negotiated the terms of the collaboration agreement are not the ones who roll up their sleeves and dive into the project work. A fresh team of operational personnel steps in post-contract-signing. These newcomers, however, have been on the sidelines of the negotiation process and therefore lack in-depth knowledge of the prior conversations and dynamics.

They haven't had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their counterparts or to participate in the trust-building activities that preceded the agreement. It is, therefore, essential to allocate time for these individuals to not only understand the project's objectives but also to establish connections based on roles and expertise.

Yet, beyond the realm of technical competencies, knowing each other as individuals is equally paramount. This interpersonal understanding strengthens the trust between team members, enabling them to rely on each other more effectively.

"Organisations sign contracts, people collaborate"

After all, collaboration is more than just aligning on project goals; it's about fostering human connections and trust. The stronger these bonds, the more fruitful the collaboration results will be. So the next time you kickstart a partnership, remember that the journey of collaboration begins well before the ink dries, and continues much after.

Take your next partnerships beyond inked agreements and start nurturing lasting human connections by hopping on a call together.