How often do you look into the mirror? Every person looks at least multiple times a day in the mirror. We check our hair, our clothing, our make-up, our beard, our shaving and a lot more. The mirror has an important sanity check function for us, to make sure we look good. When we don’t like what we see, we will take corrective measures and adjust our appearance. It is a habit; most of the time we don’t even think about it when we check the mirror. How often a day do you look into the mirror?

There are many analogies with the sanity function of a mirror: we bring our cars in for regular maintenance, we have our personal check-ups with our dentist, our health checks with our general practitioner and we have all kind of maintenance agreements in our businesses. In fact, in their own way, these are all some sort of mirrors: we have these services to see if we are still on the right track and if not, we will take action to adjust course.

Now think again: how often do you look into the mirror of your collaborative success? How often do you perform a health check on your alliances and partnerships, or on your team performance?

You couldn’t be more wrong if you think that you don’t need it, because your collaboration delivers on its commitment, Delivering your numbers, reaching your revenue or other targets are outcomes, they are lagging indicators. The core of a successful collaboration and any successful business is in managing the leading indicators.

The recipe for successful collaborations is encapsulated in maintaining alignment. It is very well possible that parties involved in the collaboration, are unwillingly and unknowingly widening the gap between them. They are losing the alignment. A preventive health check will assess the status of alignment, of the collaboration and of its leading indicators. This is the mirror for your collaborative success.

Unfortunately, many organizations feel that their collaboration doesn’t need a health check and that everything is fine. Until things fall apart, at which point your collaboration is in turmoil. A situation that often could have been prevented by performing regular health checks. Now your collaboration is in emergency mode, with often only two ways out: repair or break-up. Both expensive options. Prevention through regular health checks combined with the right measures for adjustment is a more cost effective and less painful solution than repairing.

When was the last time you looked into the mirror of your collaborative success?

PS: On the 9th of March 2017, the next Online Global Masterclass will commence. In this Masterclass we will explore how to create and manage successful alliances and partnerships. Keeping track of progress and performing health checks will be part of the third day of the Masterclass.