Are your partners sitting on the fence?
In the early stages of partnering we usually see the champions taking the lead, bringing potential partners together, exploring and scoping possibilities and facilitating discussions. It could be one person or several people, but they are the initial drivers. It may even be a partnership broker acting as a catalyst for bringing potential partners together.
And while partners may be engaged in these early discussions, are they just sitting on the fence? Are they happy to sit back and let the champions take the running? In the early creating stage of the partnering process this is likely to be inevitable, however, as agreement is reached to move forward and to start making things happen - is this good enough? And will this lead to a sustainable partnership?
Definitely not! While we need good engagement in the early exploratory stages, this needs to be converted to strong commitment as the partnership develops. If we lack commitment from all partners the partnership may not deliver or worse it could clearly unravel. But what needs to happen to get that commitment that we are looking for?
Somehow we need to get a ‘mindset shift’ from partners merely being engaged to really wanting to commit to the partnership. It is like someone joining a sporting club where initially they go along and explore what it’s is like to see if they want to become a member. For them to want to join and become an active member of the club takes a shift in thinking where they see real value in being part of that club.
To get this change in thinking we need to go back to the value proposition and ask questions, such as:
What is in this partnership for each of the partners?
What are the benefits and risks?
Do the partners see the full potential of what may be possible?
What would it take for them to be committed to this partnership?
Developing a greater understanding about the value of partnering to each of the partners will give a good indicator as to what is needed to build that commitment that is such an essential ingredient of successful partnerships.