Adapted from the Lausanne Standards

As collaborators and partners, we agree to:

1.        Concerning Respect

1.1. Respect each other’s talents, boundaries, resources, strengths, and influence.

1.2. Seek ways to build and maintain respect, recognizing that this will be a process.

1.3. Respectfully seek explanations from each other when misunderstandings occur and forgive quickly.

1.4. Gently criticize, if we must criticize, and in culturally appropriate ways.

1.5. We try to respond thoughtfully and without resentment to criticism.

1.6. Never show disrespect by trying to manipulate or control our partners, e.g., getting our way by pressuring or misleading them.

1.7. Reject the idea that either of us could go into the other’s world and do his/her job better.

1.8. Try to understand our partners’ sensitivities about being treated disrespectfully, since they may have negative experiences from previous partnerships.

1.9. To make every effort to resolve the issue of damaged respect for a partner. If our efforts fail, we will respectfully end the partnership (in line with contractual agreements) rather than continue to accept (from) or provide benefits (resources) from/to the other.

1.10. Be concerned about our partners well-being, demonstrated by a willingness to sacrifice for or accommodate partners when needs arise that impact our joint activity.

2.       Concerning Cultural Differences and Interdependency

2.1. Pursue intercultural partnerships that mutually benefit those involved and affected (as much as possible).

2.2. Become more aware of our own cultural biases and to be patient and non-judgmental about the cultural biases of our partners, recognizing that our relationship possibly is an avenue to reconcile those biases if allowed to.

2.3. Discuss whether to invite a trusted third party who knows both of our cultures to facilitate the relationship.

2.4. Discuss cultural perspectives and organizational styles whenever we realize they are impacting our working relationship. This includes sharing stories of our experiences with partnerships, successes and failures, believing this is one of the best ways to learn from each other.

2.5. Work on developing a healthy interdependency while respecting boundaries of each partner.

2.6. Interpret and apply these standards by assuming a humble manner with open dialogue, not by imposing our assumptions or viewpoints on others.

2.7. Frequently test our assumptions about our partners’ working knowledge of our situation and our knowledge of theirs, lest we assume too much or too little.

2.8. Do not own our partners and do not have to jealously protect our relationship; thus others are not feared as competitors but welcomed as potential collaborators.

3.       Concerning Vision and Communication

3.1. Seek a clear understanding of how our joint activity fits into the larger purpose and objective of our partners

3.2. Find ways of communicating that will carry our mutual vision through to the end.

3.3. Discuss our mutual mission carefully.

3.4. Communicate in a kind, gracious manner, seeking to build up the other person.

3.5. Take our partner’s expectations seriously as we decide how much time to invest in our communications with each other and how promptly we should respond.

3.6. Try to anticipate the context in which a message will be received, lest we thoughtlessly hurt our partners.

3.7. Protect our partners’ security, confidential information, intellectual property, personal affairs, reputation, etc., when speaking to third parties about our partners.

3.8. Listen carefully to our partners, asking questions and seeking to understand both what they are saying and what they are implying. We assume the best about the other when communication is unclear or inadequate.

3.9. Make neither unrealistic promises nor loose statements that our partner may easily interpret as promises even though we do not intend them that way.

3.10. Be specific about what each of us is agreeing to do and what we are expecting the other to do.

3.11. Exceedingly careful about the translations of our commitments, and avoid vague statements like, “We will do what we can.”

3.12. Search for other explanations before we judge our partner guilty of breaking a promise.

3.13. Not to give up our vision (as people who have a vision that requires resources) in favor of a different one just because someone is providing resources to do something else 

3.14. Not to use money and resources (as people with resources and funding) to tempt anyone to go along with (or pretend to go along with) our vision and methods.

4.      Concerning Learning and Flexibility

4.1. Learn from each other, continuously listening and remaining flexible in practice.

4.2. Learn genuinely about each new partner, not prejudge them based on our experience with others.

4.3. Build an environment where the partners feel safe enough to describe their difficulties, admit their mistakes and speak their minds, always with respect and without fear.

4.4. Ask proactively what the other is sensing or thinking.

4.5. Learn from our working relationships by talking about our successes and failures, seeking culturally appropriate ways to preserve one another’s honor and dignity.

4.6. Be flexible in our working relationship.

4.7. Discuss project, or funding, setbacks when they occur openly and seek ways to adapt together, aiming to improve our mutual trust.

4.8. Attempt to understand and accommodate our partner’s cultural preference for direct or indirect communication.

4.9. Discuss how our partners would normally handle sensitive matters, such as expressing criticism or receiving criticism.

4.10. Recognize the value of calling on a trusted third party to prevent and handle conflict.

4.11. Be guided in our actions by an attitude of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and service, and recognize that our partners may express these qualities differently than we expect.

4.12. Help our partner understand any government regulations or organizational policies that require strict compliance.

5.       Concerning Trust and Accountability

5.1. Operate in a trustworthy manner and implement the kind of accountability that deepens trust.

5.2. Do the extra work required to be seen as trustworthy in the eyes of our partner, which is often harder than being trustworthy in our own eyes.

5.3. State clearly a mutually acceptable plan for activity. We realize that if the plan is written, some cultures will take it more seriously than a spoken agreement and others will take it less seriously.

5.4. State clear objectives. We discuss how long we expect it will take to see the results desired.

5.5. Be faithful to the activities of the plan, and before we begin the work, to discuss the circumstances that could cause us to depart from the plan.

5.6. Work according to the project plan as closely as possible, discussing any possible changes with our partner before we make them.

5.7. Communicate promptly with our partner if funding, resource, or timing capacity has changed.

5.8. Try to allow our partners latitude in how they accomplish their responsibilities as they are the experts in their space, including use of resources and funding within specific parameters.

5.9. Express our concerns openly and honestly if funds appear to be used for unexpected purposes. We listen respectfully to our partner’s explanations.

5.10. Hold each other accountable for our responsibilities, according to our plan, and share in the responsibility and reward for results.

5.11. Speak honestly about the progress of the project, including updates on measurements and timing in the project plan. We never attempt to mislead a partner.

5.12. Do not assume that a failed or unfruitful project means that a partner broke a promise. There may be other explanations beyond our partner’s control.

5.13. Agree to state clearly a mutually acceptable plan for regular, adequate reports on the activity.

5.14. Discuss how strictly or loosely we expect the deadlines and details of the reporting plan to be followed, as well as how to reconcile possible conflicts between our organizational calendars/timetables and our partners’.