Partnerships are a great way to expand capacity, increase credibility, and strengthen networks. They can provide access to new target audiences and communications channels, not to mention industry insights and subject expertise. So why is it that so many mishandle these relationships?
Establishing new partnerships is like dating, and if you want the relationship to last (or at least not end badly), you should plan your first moves carefully. Be deliberate about what you’re after right from the start. Just in it for a short and sweet weekend campaign? Looking for a steamy strategic alliance? Does your potential partner know what you want and want the same thing?
After years of witnessing collaborative potential slip away, I developed a practical guide to help you distinguish yourself as the leader who knows what it takes to make partnerships work. In this spirit, I offer you Kruse Consulting partnership criteria, developed at the SFU Centre for Dialogue.
A few quick partnership tips:
- Don’t mislead to get what you want without a thought to what’s best for the other party. People will talk about you, and it will be more and more difficult to initiate meaningful partnerships. What kind of reputation do you want to have?
- Do your homework before jumping in. Find out about your prospect’s organizational culture and values, and see what others have to say about working with them. Why should you trust them?
- Coordinate internally to maximize the value of partnerships. Rather than taking a narrow, short-term view, seek out connections where mandates align. How many different ways can you help each other?
When you work with people who see the world differently than you do, you can generate a wide range of solutions to a shared challenge. Truly innovative organizations aren’t doing it alone; they are brilliant because they have combined their greatest strengths with the strengths of others.
Kruse Consulting has successfully negotiated many partnership agreements between some of Canada’s best known organizations such as the David Suzuki Foundation, the NHL, Canadian Living magazine, BC Hydro, University of British Columbia, and many others. Contact us today for support and get the most out of your professional relationships.