Great blog post on this topic in today’s Washington Post. They offer 8 Is for making partnerships work that are worth considering:
- Individual excellence. Both parties must have strengths on their own, because weak players cannot prop each other up.
- Importance. The relationship must have strategic significance. If it is just casual, don’t bother.
- Interdependence. The strongest and most enduring alliances occur when the parties are different in some respects and need each other to carry out an activity they would not otherwise do.
- Investment. One sign of commitment is a willingness to invest something in the partner’s success, such as equities or personnel swaps (business “hostages for peace”).
- Information. Transparency aids relationship formation. If you don’t want a partner to know too much about you, why are you in the alliance?
- Integration. There must be many points of contact that tie the organizations together in joint activities.
- Institutionalization. A formal structure and governing board ensures objectivity, and that alliance interests are considered, not just each company’s interests.
- Integrity. Trust is essential. Alliances fall apart in conflict and lawsuits when partners do not act ethically toward one another nor strive to contribute to the other’s success.
How many enforced public sector partnerships get even half way to meeting these criteria for success.
This suggests to me that being successful in less than ideal circumstances is going to take more determination, more time and more persistence.
You can read the full post here.