What Makes a True Partnership?
Partnerships between staff and volunteers have the potential to be powerful, productive, and prosperous. And, we also know that they can be taxing, tiring, and totally not worth the effort. What makes a real partnership?
A real partnership is one in which both parties bring something to table, share in the work, and make a tangible contribution to the outcome. Partnerships do not have to be 50/50 in order to be productive. There are many ways to divide and conquer the work. But, ultimately, both parties need to understand their roles, know the rules of engagement, and share the same vision for success.
Think of a project in which you partnered with someone else and it didn’t go as well as you would have liked. Whether the project failed or it was successful, but simply wasn’t an easy road to get there, chances are more than likely that one of the following vital steps was overlooked or shortchanged. Here are the three important topics to discuss and address with any potential partner before solidifying the working relationship.
- Clear Roles
- What are our primary responsibilities as a team and as individuals?
- What special skills and talents do each of us bring to the table?
- Rules of Engagement
- What is the most effective way for us to communicate?
- How often will we check in and share progress?
- How will we handle it if our agreements aren’t met?
- Vision for Success
- What is our vision for success?
- How will we measure success?
- When and how will we evaluate and learn from our successes and challenges?
- How and with whom will we share our learnings and successes?
Next time you launch a partnership, take the time to discuss and come to agreement around each of these three vital issues as part of your preparation. By addressing these, you and your partner are setting yourselves up for a successful partnership.