In this stage, decisions are finalized and the collaboration is brought to a close.
The overriding goal of this stage is to finalize decisions. It is here that the entire arc of the collaboration project is brought to closure on all three levels. With the intellectual closure, substantive challenges have been met and are captured in some documentary form. With the psychological and relational closure, stakeholders acknowledge the ways they have come to understand each other and honor their similarities and differences. With the process closure, the multi-party stakeholder endeavor ends and there is often a celebration to honor everyone’s hard work.
Agreements can be formulated into “deliverables” that can include: a list of solid implementation steps (who will do what, by when, and how); a list of default steps should agreements wobble and need more discussion; and clarity about the roll-out. If there are no agreements, the process needs to be concluded with the greatest possible dignity.
No matter how long the arc may be, there are beginnings, middles, and endings to most collaboration projects. End points often create new beginnings and are also a demarcation of work completed. Assisted dialogue and negotiation requires this kind of closure.
One of the complaints about collaborative processes is fatigue and uncertainty about payoff for the great investment of time. This makes this concluding stage critical.