The Partnerships Resource Centre (www.rsm.nl/psr) is an open center for academics, practitioners and students to create, retrieve and share knowledge on cross-sector partnerships for sustainable development. It is located at the Rotterdam School of Management and initiated and run, among others, by Professor Rob van Tulder.
Recently, the resource center published its findings on cross-sector partnerships. Achieving overall mutuality in partnership goals while making sure that each partner also reaches its own goals is key to working together.
Here are some guidelines based on the science of effective partnerships.
The first thing to do it to establish a way of planning and control that ensures that you are working within a collective vision and towards a collective goal.
This should also guarantee that every partner maintains their own goals within this collaboration.
Once you have understood your mutualities and agreed on your goals, it is important to look at how you want to work together.
Just to be clear, nobody choses to work together if the goals can also be reached alone: there is interdependency and some urgency in a partnership usually. There is, thus, a need to make the partnership process run as efficiently and effectively as possible.
This you achieve through effective coordination, transparent accountability checks, clear communication and efficient decision-making structures.
Good leadership, also, is a critical successfactor in your partnership.
Finally, and this should not be underestimated, a shared confidence and trust in the positive outcome of your partnership should be fostered. There is some team building to be done, diplomacy to be practiced and network maintenance should be on all agendas.
While we are not in a “collaboratory”, effective collaboration is both a science and an art. It requires creativity, hard work and clear communication to produce the best results.
Learn more in my third and last article on the Art of Collaboration next time.