Graham Sustainability Institute

Lessons in Collaboration: Jen Read, U-M Water Center

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

From the May, 2017 Water Center Newsletter

Approaching Complex Issues

Welcome to Lessons in Collaboration. We thought a few words from people deep in the collaboration trenches on a quarterly basis would provide insight to readers and (some) relief to writers. We see this section in the newsletter as a space where we can muse about collaboration challenges and triumphs, make observations about our processes, or ask questions of each other.

I get to kick it all off with a reflection on the past few months. In March and April, the Water Center helped host and facilitate a state-wide water collaboration gathering, as well as a couple of really interesting sessions here on campus. Through it all, I was struck by the demeanor of those who are very successful in their collaborations. And by success, I mean teams that are making a difference: their research is being used on-the-ground by resource managers or integrated into local, state or regional policy discussions. This is real, effective work addressing important issues. But what stands out about these teams is their genuine pleasure in working together.

There are many keys to good collaboration, which I anticipate we’ll read about in this space over time. We’ll learn about tools, techniques and best practices. But always ask yourself: Do I like working with these people and what can we do as a team to enhance our relationships?