Effective partnering requires a culture of collaboration and communication. That means actively deepening working relationships and building all participants’ capacity to partner. This requires attention throughout the life cycle of a partnering endeavour and usually entails:
- working transparently
- addressing any power imbalances
- ensuring inclusivity
- building active engagement
- acknowledging and properly valuing all stakeholders’ assets and contributions, as well as
- learning how to take account of and compensate for any weaknesses or deficiencies.
It also means being alert to any conflicts of interests and ensuring that each stakeholder’s engagement is within the terms of the overarching partnering goal. All these factors will contribute to a growing sense of shared ‘ownership’ amongst stakeholders. Creating a positive partnering culture and reinforcing the capacities of the stakeholders to act within it, will increase the likelihood of success.
Communicating effectively is fundamental to collaboration and thus indispensable to effective partnering.
For effective collaboration and communication we recommend:
- Investing in individual and organisational capacity development for partnering
- Investing in the so-called soft issues of trust, power and relationships
- Acknowledging each organisation’s unique contribution, as well as their own legitimate priorities and potential partnering constraints, thus allowing for mutual engagement to develop
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING
- Book: For a better understanding of the concepts relevant for stakeholder dialogues, see The Collective Leadership Institute’s textbook.
- Report: An excellent overview of scholarly thinking on partnership ‘for the common good’ is provided by the edited volume of Seitanidi and Crane (2014) Social partnerships and responsible business: A research handbook. Routledge. Available for purchase here.
- Tool: Communication in and about partnerships, read Tennyson, R. et al: Talking the Walk: A Communications Tool book for Partnership Practitioners.
- Tool: For putting this knowledge into practice, see The Collective Leadership Institute’s toolbox.