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Posts Tagged ‘Partnership’

Partnerships and collaboration: 8 elements of a successful partnership


What makes partnerships successful? Collaboration is the process of shared creation. Two or more individuals with complementary skills interact to create a shared understanding that none had previously possessed or could have come to on their own.

Collaboration creates a shared meaning about a process, a product, or an effect. The true medium of collaboration is other people. Real innovation comes from this social matrix, according to Michael Schrage, author of Shared Minds: The New Technologies of Collaboration.

In today’s world economy, many companies are struggling to maintain quality while functioning with fewer resources. The economic and social issues can become real barriers to innovation, quality improvement, and successful services for today’s businesses. One way to combat the economic and social environment is by creating new and improved partnerships to use resources and share expertise to provide better services.

When two or more organizations are considering a partnership, the first question should be: Do the organizations involved have similar values that allow the partnership to function in a synergist way? It needs to remain positive and productive through both successes and challenges.

Second, ask: Does the partnership enhance our collective value proposition to the client? Will the client truly benefit? If the partnership doesn’t provide tangible value to the client, then the premise of the relationship should be revisited.

The third question is: Will each partnering organization be strengthened through knowledge transfer or capacity building within their entity?

Successful business alliances or collaborations begin by understanding how to create effective, productive partnerships. In partnerships, two or more entities or people come together for mutual benefit. Often, organizations spend much of their time assessing the financial terms of a partnership. While the financial aspect of partnerships is important, truly successful partnerships include understanding the need to manage the partnership in human terms (Cockerell, 2008).

In a 1994 Harvard Business Review article, Rosabeth Moss Kanter outlines eight elements that are needed for partnerships to succeed:

  • – Both partners bring value and strength to the alliance. They are not trying to mask weaknesses.
  • – The partnership must be important to each person or entity and meet long-term goals. There must be a solid business reason for the partnership.
  • – Partners recognize the interdependence of the relationship. If partners try to maintain their independence, the partnership will not succeed.
  • – Everyone has to invest in the partnership by providing resources, expertise, or other tangible signs of commitment to the partnership.
  • – The partners must be willing to share information to make the alliance work.
  • – Partners develop linkages so that they can operate smoothly together.
  • – The alliance becomes a part of the formal structure of the two organizations and extends beyond the people who put the partnership together.
  • – Partners maintain their integrity and work in honorable ways to maintain trust.
  • These eight characteristics form the foundation for successful alliances, partnerships, and collaborations.


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