How to maximise the benefits of working together, and minimise the chance of misunderstandings and conflict? That was an early question when Orla and I started working together on an evaluation for Fight For Peace International. We decided it would be useful to talk about how we’d work together and make sure we knew what each other’s strengths, preferences, and frailties were before getting into deadlines and the heat of contract work.
We used the simple format below for doing it. It was very illuminating for us both! And we’ve reviewed it every couple of months since. It’s been a good way to talk openly about our preferences for deadlines, communication and resolving differences.
A Framework for Working together
- What are they?
- Learning from each other
- What bits are we excited about?
- Collaboration vs autonomy?
- Number of days and who goes where
- Deadlines and how closely we stick to them
- Time frames
Client relationship and interaction
What other things are competing with this?
My ‘buttons’ / pre-emptive declaration
How we deal with disputes/ disagreements
Here’s an extract to give a flavour:
How we deal with disputes/ disagreements:
1. prevent by regular communication even when it feels like too much/unnecessary (agreed)
2. conversation – listening, honesty, clear and specific feedback
and/or agree – though sometimes my own anxieties are so noisy that i can’t really hear what is being communicated!
3. meet in person (ditto) I would really like to try to plan to do this occasionally anyway – perhaps when we get to a point where we need some substantial time to write/analyse/plan. We’re all getting so good at working remotely that we forget that the social stuff we do face to face is equally important. Maybe once a quarter or so i could come to you?
4. ask a fellow Frameworker to help us (good idea).