In my ten years in the tuition industry, I had the following collaboration experience:
-Employed as a tuition centre manager without a contract.
-Promised a partnership without given shares.
-Forked out money to invest in a joint venture and realised that my values and vision didn’t align with the other partners.
-Worked for a centre in the hope for sweat equity, only to realise that the centre was technically in debt and I’ll be foolish to be made a partner.
-Given great opportunities but didn’t put effort into them, in the end the other partners got annoyed.
So yesterday a friend asked me, what do I look out for in a collaboration? Out of my many collaborations, I have these lessons, and also accompanying questions to get the conversation going:
VISION: Ask “What exactly are we trying to achieve at the end of all these?”
VALUES: Ask “Do we share similar values? Do I like them?”
PEOPLE: Ask “Who will I be working closely with? How well do I know them?”
TIMELINE: Ask “How long do we want to set aside for this project, to achieve our end goals, or to call it a day?”
CONTRIBUTION: Ask “Why does my counterpart want to work with me? What skills and resources can I bring to the project?”
REWARDS: Ask “What rewards, monetary or non-monetary, can I get out of this project? What rewards do my counterpart get out of this project?”
ENTRY: Ask “How do we formalize the working arrangement? Contract? Email confirmation?”
EXIT: Ask “For whatever reasons, when I want to exit this project, how do I do that? How does my counterpart exit the project?”
What other questions do you usually ask when considering a collaboration project? Please share!