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Dissolving A Collaboration

Last week I wrote about establishing collaborations. Unfortunately, a collaboration may not last into perpetuity. A while back, I had to dissolve a collaboration that existed before my arrival to the organization because there was no formal agreement and the other organization wanted to continue in a relationship of misconduct.


According to the Evers Law Group, reasons for dissolving a collaboration include:


A. Professional misconduct…Every business collaboration is governed by a partnership agreement.

B. Bankruptcy and a bad economy…Basically, organizations enter into collaborations to make profits.

C. Business conflicts…It is not uncommon for organizations to disagree over certain business decisions.

D. Poor management... A lot of work goes into running a business successfully. Unfortunately, not everyone is a great manager.


If you need to dissolve a collaboration, there are several necessary steps and considerations to remember. Here's a general guide to help you navigate the process:


  1. Review the Collaboration Agreement: Begin by carefully reviewing the collaboration agreement or contract that governs the partnership. Identify the termination clause and any specific procedures or notice requirements outlined in the agreement.

  2. Communicate with the Collaborating Party: Initiate a conversation with the other party involved. It's crucial to maintain open and honest communication during the collaboration and throughout the dissolution process. Discuss your objective or data-driven reasons for ending the collaboration and ensure both parties are on the same page.

  3. Document the Decision: Documenting the decision to dissolve the collaboration in writing is essential. Documenting the decision can be in the form of a termination letter or an official written notice, depending on the information outlined in the collaboration agreement. Clearly state the reasons for termination and specify the effective date of dissolution.

  4. Legal Considerations: Consult with a legal professional to understand any legal implications or obligations associated with dissolving the collaboration. They can help you navigate any contractual obligations, liabilities, intellectual property rights, or other legal matters that may arise.

  5. Financial Considerations: Assess the financial aspects of the collaboration dissolution. Determine how any remaining funds or assets will be divided or returned to the respective parties. Consider any outstanding debts or financial obligations and how they will be settled.

  6. Transition Plan: Develop a transition plan to ensure a smooth handover or winding down of activities. Determine how the supervision of ongoing projects, responsibilities, and shared resources will be managed during the transition period. This plan should address potential disruptions to customers, clients, or stakeholders.

  7. Inform Stakeholders: Notify relevant stakeholders, such as employees, clients, customers, or suppliers, about the dissolution of the collaboration. Provide them with clear and concise information about the changes and address any concerns or questions they may have.

  8. Resolve Pending Obligations: Work with the other party to resolve any pending obligations or commitments. Resolving pending obligations may include fulfilling outstanding deliverables, settling financial matters, or transferring ownership of assets or intellectual property.

  9. Terminate Contracts or Agreements: If any third-party contracts or agreements are associated with the collaboration, review them to determine how they should be terminated or transferred to the appropriate party.

  10. Evaluate Lessons Learned: Take the opportunity to reflect on the collaboration experience and identify lessons learned. Consider what worked well for the organization and what could have been improved within the infrastructure and procedures. These insights can be valuable for future collaborations or partnerships.


Remember, the specific steps and considerations may vary depending on the nature of the collaboration, the applicable laws and regulations, and the terms outlined in the collaboration agreement. It's advisable to seek professional advice to ensure that all legal and financial aspects are handled appropriately.


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