5 Tricky Collaboration Problems and How To Fix Them

A recent business survey found that businesses which merely manage to survive tend to be stuck in going it alone, while those that are highly collaborative are more likely to see revenue growth. Increasingly, businesses are clear on the role of collaboration as a strategy of growth through innovation and knowledge sharing. To make the most of business collaboration, managers should be mindful of some common problems and learn how to manage them. Here are five problems and how they can be resolved.


Enthusiasm evaporates

It is important to start every collaboration enthusiastically and to maintain eagerness throughout the process. But, by the same token, it is important not to rely on enthusiasm alone to carry the collaboration across the finish line. Enthusiasm can evaporate fairly quickly in the face of gritty work.

How to fix it:

Enthusiasm is not rocket fuel for collaboration; rather, patience is. It is rare for collaboration to be a short and sweet process. Two or more organisations need time to learn to work together effectively. Every organisation has a culture of which it is proud. It takes time for businesses to learn about their processes and ways of doing business before trust is built and collaborators are prepared to share knowledge and truly work collaboratively.



Every time people come together on a project it is natural for them to feel a bit nervous and even anxious. This is normal and should be expected if people really want to collaborate and not just show up to make up numbers for social media selfies.

How to fix it:

Agree on a solid framework. Agree on decision making processes, resolving issues and exact outcomes, both individual and shared. Setting rules for the process provides certainty which works like magic when we feel anxious.



“Enthusiasm is not rocket fuel for collaboration; rather, patience is.”


Getting stuck

By virtue of the need for collaboration, we know that the very reason for collaboration is to do things that otherwise would be impossible or more costly. Hence it is normal to expect that at some point in the process, collaboration can get stuck. We can reach an impasse. Something is not working well, and it can implode the project, threaten the process or simply deliver less than expected.

How to fix it:

Be prepared for this to happen and discuss with teams beforehand. Understand that there is a path from impasse to insight which, while frustrating, can be exceptionally rewarding. When teams get stuck and are seemingly unable to progress or resolve a problem, a joint effort can create an extraordinarily strong bond that can lead to innovation and more collaboration in the future. Collaboration Managers should treat these kinds of situations as opportunities for growth.


The finish line

A simple and easy mistake to make is to start getting too relaxed as the project nears its end. The finish line can appear close, however it is possible that last minute mistakes can damage weeks or months of hard work. Businesses may have a strong sense of confidence in the projected final outcome after initial planning and implementation stages are completed, thus losing focus later in the process.

How to fix it:

It is important to note that much of the overall experience of collaboration will be defined by the way it is finalised. The experience should be completed strongly and convincingly in order to make people feel rewarded, provide confidence and generate a desire for future collaborations.



It is natural to experience fatigue if one collaborates often. In fact, this has proven to be an issue that is frequently ignored. Collaboration is not a routine type of working. Each partner and each project comes with its own set of challenges. Over time this can become tiring. However, this can be effectively managed.

How to fix it:

The key is to understand that burnout and fatigue can come in equal measure from exciting projects we enjoy, as it can from the type of work where we feel unengaged. Collaboration can be a case of ‘too much of a good thing’ and can exhaust our energy. So, it is good to manage projects by allocating time off and valuing debriefing sessions and opportunities for reflection and learning. Rushing headlong from one collaboration into another is not the best way to remain sharp in the long run.