Communique

Contact: Brenda Frink, Publicity Associate
Phone: 415-743-6477
Email: bfrink@bkpub.com


How to Make Collaboration Work
Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions
By David Straus

First he taught us How to Make Meetings Work, a groundbreaking book that sold over 600,000 copies, now David Straus teaches us How to Make Collaboration Work.

All of us in the course of our work have to cooperate with others to solve problems and make decisions. In How to Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions, David Straus reveals why collaborative problem solving seems so hard and describes five time-tested principles for making collaborative efforts more effective, efficient, and even joyful.

Collaborative efforts-whether they involve three people or 300-take place within corporate and nonprofit organizations of all kinds. Yet these efforts often leave us frustrated, angry, and exhausted, and end up taking all too much time. It's a fact that our experiences in trying to reach agreements with others are often unpleasant and difficult. Collaboration typically involves meetings, and no one likes meetings. And all the miscues and miscommunications that can occur in a single meeting are magnified when a collaborative effort has to involve many people and multiple meetings over time.

How to Make Collaboration Work reveals why collaborative problem solving seems so frustrating, and ultimately proves that there's nothing inherently unpleasant about it. In fact, Straus explains, working together to solve problems and make decisions can actually be a great joy. Straus shows how the process of a well-managed collaborative effort is like a chemical reaction, releasing far more energy than it consumes. Participants feel energized by the experience, not drained, a phenomenon that Straus calls "The Interaction Effect" and How to Make Collaboration Work explains how to achieve it.

Part I of How to Make Collaboration Work offers insight into how single individuals solve problems, a concept that is essential to understanding how we can all solve problems together.

Part II offers five time-tested principles for making collaborative efforts more effective, efficient, and joyful. The five principles are: Involve the Relevant Stakeholders, Build Consensus Phase by Phase, Design a Process Map, Designate a Process Facilitator, and Harness the Power of Group Memory.

These principles represent the distillation of Straus' thirty years of learning and practice applying the concepts of collaboration in almost every imaginable context. Each principle can be applied to any scale of collaborative problem solving, from interpersonal and small-group processes to organization and community-wide processes. And each principle addresses specific challenges we confront when trying to design and manage a process of collaboration. Best of all, these principles work. They have been applied successfully in hundreds of organizations and communities in the U.S. and around the world.

Part III looks to the future, exploring what happens if we apply the five principles of collaboration throughout a whole organization or community. Straus provides an inspiring vision of truly collaborative workplaces and communities and describes some of the evidence that suggests that such entities function better and are healthier places in which to work and live than their more traditional counterparts.

Throughout How to Make Collaboration Work, David Straus draws on examples from his personal and professional life as well as from the work of his colleagues. He provides rare insight into how his company, Interaction Associates, has practiced the collaborative values and principles it preaches. Straus also uses, as examples, several of the Fortune 500 companies, nonprofit organizations, and communities with which he has consulted, including Ford Motor Company, Cisco Systems, Benjamin Moore & Company, Shell Oil, Marriott Corporation, Merck, Charles Schwab, Visa International, Harvard Business School Publishing, New England Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, the E.P.A., the cities of Albuquerque, Hartford, Newark, New York, and Palm Beach, the Boston Public Schools, and the U.S. Department of Education.

The ideas in How to Make Collaboration Work offer a hopeful and achievable vision. They present the prospect of a better world in which people with differing interests can work together constructively to tackle the complex, systemic issues society faces. They point us toward a more humane and healthy work environment.

David Straus is the founder of Interaction Associates, Inc. and has served in every major leadership position, including President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board. Under his guidance, Interaction Associates has become a recognized leader in organizational development, group process facilitation, training, and consulting. He is coauthor with Michael Doyle of How to Make Meetings Work, which has sold over 600,000 copies.

*****

How to Make Collaboration Work: Powerful Ways to Build Consensus, Solve Problems, and Make Decisions
By David Straus
ISBN: 1-57675-128-7
Paperback Original: $14.95
Number of Pages: 247, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Publication Date: October 15, 2002

Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers
For author interview or serial rights contact:
Brenda Frink
415-743-6477
bfrink@bkpub.com