Speed with Collaboration and Standards


Messy collaboration can create speed. Mike Leavitt learned collaboration is often the best way to solve messy problems that involve large groups of people.

Mike is the three time Governor of Utah and served on the Cabinet of President George W. Bush as Secretary of Health and Human Services and administrator of the Environmental Protection agency.

8 elements for successful collaboration:

Mike’s political career taught him that bringing people together – collaboration – is the way to solve large complex problems. His book, “Finding Allies, Building Alliances,” describes eight key elements for collaborative networks to succeed.

  1. A common pain.
  2. A convener of influence.
  3. Representatives of substance.
  4. Committed leaders.
  5. A clearly defined purpose.
  6. A formal charter.
  7. The northbound train. An intuitive confidence that an alliance will get to its destination and achieve something of unique value, and that those who aren’t on board will be disadvantaged.
  8. A common information base.

Speed – Trust – Transparency – Standards:

The path to speed begins with trust.
Trust depends on transparency.
Transparency requires standards.

I was intrigued, during our conversation, when Gov. Leavitt described the path to speed. The goal is speed but the path to speed requires standards. How do standards create speed?

In 1862, the US Congressed established the standard gauge of 4 feet 8 ½ inches for railroads. Before the standard there were seven gauges. A national rail system was impossible. Cargo had to be transferred from train to train. A standard created speed. (Adapted from Finding Allies, Building Allies)

Gov. Leavitt explains that even competitors can come together to create standards. Think about banks and ATM’s, cell phones, or sharing information between hospitals.

Collaboration is an effective channel for establishing standards.

Gov. Leavitt in his own words on collaboration and creating speed (4.5 min). 

Finding Allies, Building Alliances, is must reading for anyone who wants to build alliances that solve large problems.

How can collaboration create speed?

keynotes and workshops