06 Oct

Some Thoughts on Partnerships

Partnerships are often human relationships scaffolding financial ones. The stakes can often be high, like a staff-position. And the level of discomfort can be equally high, because partnerships require organizations to relinquish control.

What are some tips on navigating partnerships? Overall, transparency is a means of allowing both parties to understand and mitigate risk while also finding common ground. Articulating and documenting aspects of your collective work create a strong framework for mutual action. Shared success is born out of shared goals and actions. 

Understanding each other

  1. Be transparent about needs, pain points, requirements, etc. to set a culture of honesty and transparency.
  2. Collectively Determine project goals and how that relates to each orgs mission
  3. Share philosophy of work with each other. Look for differences. Discuss where there might be pain points. Discuss possible work arounds for cultural differences.
  4. Agree to shared rules of engagement. Put these rules in writing.
  5. Check in with rules periodically to adapt and improve them.

Planning together

  1. Discuss different ways to get to your shared goal.
  2. Invite everyone to articulate relative merits of each option.
  3. Collectively decide on path and outcome. Determine action-steps
  4. Set check in points

Working together

  1. Articulate how your share work environment should feel
  2. Assume the best of your partners
  3. Model your best way of being 
  4. Check in periodically about how the working relationship is going 
  5. Find numerous ways to celebrate your successes 
  6. Find a capstone to your partnership so you can assess your growth as an org

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