Partnering Tip: Putting a Peg in the Sand


Partnering with others means lots of dialogue around a whole range of issues. Making sure you keep moving forward is not easy as partners often want to revisit issues that you thought were agreed. So how do you stop this constant backtracking?

Often we see intentions expressed or agreements made at a meeting revisited once partners have considered them more or had discussions with colleagues. And as we move along the partnering journey it may not get any easier because differences may become more apparent when we get into the detail, even though we’ve spent lots of time building relationships with other partners.

So instead of making progress we often end up revisiting issues and going backwards! This constant backtracking can get very frustrating for partners and slow progress dramatically. Of course, some questioning and revisiting is necessary to make sure we get the best outcomes, but we need to be reasonable.

How do we stop this endless backtracking from undermining the partnership?

One technique we use is called – ‘putting a peg in the sand’. This is all about getting really clear where everyone is in their thinking and constantly making sure that agreements are consolidated and locked in as you move through the partnering process. This can be done by:

  • checking in at the start of every meeting to make sure that agreements reached at the previous meeting are confirmed – this ensures that everyone is on the same page and can move forward together

  • ensuring that all information is shared and the issues are really clear to all involved

  • asking questions if you have some concerns or don't understand an issue

  • making sure that meeting notes are clear and summarise the key points of agreement between the partners

  • checking what discussion and agreements have been made within each partner and how this may impact on the partnership

These are just a few of the techniques for consolidating where the partnership is up to, but being open and transparent about the issues and the process will enable everyone to feel they are making progress without endless backtracking. 

Keeping this peg in the sand concept top of mind is really useful in keeping the partners committed and the partnership on track.


Ian DixonComment