five plain truths about partnerships:
Partnerships are critical to the long-term success of any initiative.
Why? Addressing today's complex issues requires a multi-sector,
comprehensive approach. All the players must come to the table,
forge a shared vision, and develop a clear plan for working in concert
on a common problem. And only partnerships have the power to do
Partnerships are challenging to manage and to master. Personalities,
different backgrounds, previous history, conflicting styles of leadership,
each person seeing things through their own narrow lens, uneven
levels of commitment, different levels of experience with collaboration.
The list goes on and on. So the "solution" of forming a partnership
to address an issue becomes the new "problem." And few of us have
had the training that equips us to master the complexities of partnerships.
Partnerships are built on two pillars: Form and Process. Form
is about how the partnership is organized; it includes the structure
and the systems needed to operate the partnership. Process is about
how the people in the partnership interact and treat each other;
it includes the relationships between the people in the partnership,
and the skills they need to work with each other effectively. If
either pillar is allowed to grow weak, the partnership will collapse.
Partnerships are easier to start than to sustain. Many collaborative
projects are sparked by a crisis, funding, or a dynamic personality.
They begin with high hopes but all too often commitment wanes, meeting
attendance drops off, and initial enthusiasm gives way to doubt
Partnerships go through stages of development. At each stage,
the partnership requires different things from members, is marked
by different developmental milestones, and has an increased capacity
for achieving results. For example, trust must be built slowly and
deliberately at the initial stage. This trust increases members'
commitment to contribute the resources that equip the partnership
to carry out its activities, and if successful, trust deepens further.
Eventually, trust is high enough to support the purposeful conflict
required for creative problem solving and high-level partnership
We can help you manage and master your partnership. Whether you're
starting one, in one that could use a boost, or responsible for
insuring the success of ones you oversee.