When I was a kid, my Dad used to take me exploring for gold near Tamworth. We all knew there was some gold in the local mountain streams, as both my Dad and uncle had been successful there for years, and the area has a long history of gold mining.

But as we got to the creek and started panning, I quickly realised that while I knew the gold was there, getting to it was something else. And try as I might, swirling and swirling the gravel in my pan, I was initially unsuccessful, while my Dad in short order was showing me the grains of gold in his pan.

So I painfully and slowly learned and practiced with the pan and my technique, and eventually success! – as something finally glittered in my pan.

I was reminded of my gold panning experiences recently when running a workshop for a client learning and practicing collaborative tools and techniques as part of implementing a collaborative way of working, and utilising our Power of Co system (PoC).

I’ve heard many times from clients that they saw the PoC as “gold”, and then saw both them and myself frustrated by the apparent inability to get real collaborative change in the workplace. It seemed that while the pathway made absolute sense and gave them real confidence in collaborating, they really struggled with the “how”, particularly letting go of longstanding practices that compromised the collaborative effort.

This was the catalyst for our development of a series of steps, activities, tools and techniques to provide a more detailed “how”- a bit like my Dad showing me how to use the pan, where to get the likely gravel, how much water to use, how to swirl effectively , etc.

So our realisation, like mine, was that knowing about the collaboration gold is only part of the story, and having access to the tools and techniques and learning is a critical element of success.

Have you the tools to access the gold?