There is an old saying, “Good fences make good neighbors.” It sounds counterintuitive, but there is actually a good deal of truth in that. The fence is not intended to keep the neighbor out of your yard, it is designed to keep your dog in! The principle is to agree on what is appropriate in advance, rather than wait for a difference in expectations to escalate into a dispute.
You may be puzzled by the dog and fence metaphor, so let me get straight to the point.
The picture below is of me and Shawna Apps signing some papers and having coffee and cookies. It may not look important to the average onlooker, but, my dear reader, it is very important.
This is a photo of author and illustrator signing a collaborative agreement regarding the book series, The Adventures of Boathouse Mouse. There are a lot of things in that agreement that I never gave thought to before seeing it in writing. The agreement defines how things get done. When we have to make those big decisions, there is already a framework in place.
This actually goes way deeper than a business deal. Shawna and one of my daughters are good friends. It is my intention that long after I am gone, they will remain as friends. What you see here, folks, is history in the making!
In all fairness, there have been a many collaborative agreements throughout history that were this important. Well, maybe dozens. Certainly a few, anyway. Actually, only The Declaration of Independence comes to mind. Whew! Being a history maker is exhausting!