Covenant of Collaboration: Being Human
With all their strategic partnerships and constituents and moving pieces, you would expect an organization like his would have a partnership agreement drafted by a cadre of lawyers and suits. Something legal. Something bulletproof and ironclad.
He sent me their most recent "covenant of collaboration" they’d signed with a top medical school in Indonesia. It read:
"We, being of like minds, agree to work together in Indonesia and around the world as opportunities arise."
The rector of the university with whom they were forging a partnership was equally delighted.
"His big smile was followed by a giggle and he then picked up the 15-page MoU he was thinking of putting on the table,” Willie told me.
The idea here is, as Willie puts it: “yes” is yes, and “no” is no.
The simplicity is rather refreshing.
A handshake-type deal, Seth Godin says, is about the future and what's to come (versus focusing on the past).
“Either side can claim loopholes or wriggle out of a commitment, but the consequence is clear—if you disappoint us, we won't be back for more. The participant in a handshake deal is investing in the future, doing more now in exchange for the benefits that trust and delight and consistency bring going forward."
It turns out being human is pretty simple. It's saying what we mean and meaning what we say. It's being fair and just and working transparently with vulnerability, and not being a jerk.
No one would’ve thought any less of them or their organizations if they had taken the easy-yet-more-complex route and used the 15-page novella to define their relationship.
Yet, what would they have been subtly sacrificing by doing so? I mean, when was the last time you've heard a grown man giggle in a business setting?
It was more delightful (and plain better) to just be human.
In our experience, people are delighted when we’re simply human.