Dr Stuart Reid writes that he and his colleagues at the Partnering Initiative have in recent years noticed a gradual shift of emphasis regarding partnerships: the organisations they work with are thinking less about how to partner and more about how to select the right partnering opportunity. In a world of plentiful opportunities, the challenge is to assess those opportunities and select the ones that are going to deliver maximum added value to your work. It’s not just about getting partnership right, but about getting the right partnership.
Reid states that an issue which is often underestimated is the question of whether an organisation has enough people with the appropriate skills to deliver a particular partnership. He means that it is easy to be beguiled by the promise of an innovative collaboration with high-profile partners but do you have the right people to shape it, manage it and bring home the value that it potentially creates? Among many issues to assess relating to the partnership, the issue of value that has overriding importance: before any consideration of the practicalities of making a partnership work, we have to understand how it can generate significant net value to the partnering organisations and their beneficiaries.
The Partnering Initiative and Reid advice putting in place a robust and transparent process for assessing the potential of a partnership – and of individual partners – as a sensible commitment for any organisation operating regularly in cross-sector collaboration. Not only should it ensure that you select the right partnership opportunities with the right partners but the process itself will help staff internally to explore the strategic and practical value of the partnership – leading to better understanding and commitment. Crucially it makes it easier to decline inappropriate opportunities: an inability to say ‘no’ is often an organisation’s greatest weakness.
Read the whole blog here.