Diversity and inclusion are important values underpinning effective partnering. However diversity should not become unmanageable; partners should be those that can make a genuine contribution to the partnering activity’s objectives.
Above all, it is vital not to destabilise the initiative by including those (for whatever reason) who are at odds with the partnering endeavour’s goals and key objectives. It may be necessary to delay starting the endeavour while this is being worked through and it could be a useful way not just of ensuring that the ‘right’ people are at the table, but also by providing an early experience of handling difficult conversations and arriving at collective decisions.
It is as important for partners to consider who or what expertise or contributions may be missing and to make a plan to fill this gap. Sometimes partners may seem to be ‘freeriding’ and partners will need to respond, including asking the partner concerned to leave.
- What is the partnering activity’s goal? What partner configuration is needed to achieve this goal effectively?
- How do we ensure affected people are involved and thattheir voices being heard?
- How can we ensure that we have the appropriate set of partners needed to address the issue?
- How can we fill the gap of potentially crucial contributors?
- To what extent is the partnering endeavour’s goal related to core activities of each stakeholder (partnership portfolio management)?
- Report: Define the wickedness of the issue and explore the needed stakeholders: see Wicked Problems Plaza, Principles and Practices for Effective Stakeholder Dialogue (in particular chapter 1).
- Report: Define the strategic alignment needed to address the issue effectively.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
- Partner expertise and preferred ways of working are understood and incorporated consciously and constructively
- Wickedness of the issue is linked with the expertise of each partner
- Appropriate expertise and capacities are available to the partnership