Every journey begins with one step and for one to get to their destination they need to be prepared to face whatever challenges or obstacles they may meet along the way. The same is true for the partnering journey because one cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel without that first step and pushing ahead to reach the intended objective.
The journey to achieving a partnership is not an easy one hence the roadmap has to be clearly outlined and all the stages in the diagram below followed in order to make it work.
As much as the Partnership Managers or “Brokers” must consider everything and be able to anticipate the hurdles that might arise during the partnering journey, there may be other unforeseen obstacles that may pose a threat to the partnering process.
But the journey is not as easy as it may seem, misunderstandings may arise because the people coming to form a partnership are used to working in Silos and are usually set on doing things in one way whereas the partnership may entail that they change the way things are done in order to make it work.
As ZBIDF Extractives Broker affirms: “The Partnering Journey is not an easy one, it takes a broker’s energy, hard work and commitment to make it work and that is why the whole partnering journey must be considered because every step is crucial to the final outcome of the partnership.”
There are always concerns of resources, management and governance of the partnership and what each partner will get out of the partnership at the end of the day as well as geographical and cultural differences come into play.
When issues of resources and management of the partnership are raised, the partners tend not to agree because some of them might feel they are putting in more than the others and vice versa as well as each partner wanting to be at the governing body of the partnership and taking the reins.
In such cases the Partnership Broker takes charge and may need to adopt a number of different types of roles/behaviours including those of:
- Record Keeper- providing accurate, clear and appropriate communications.
- Teacher- raising awareness and building capacity.
- Healer- restoring health and well-being to dysfunctional relationships.
- Parent- nurturing relationship to maturity.
- Police officer- ensuring that the partners are transparent and accountable. ( Adopted from TheBrokeringGuideBook)
These roles and the partnering stages will in turn make the partnering journey more effective and the platform for dialogue will be set.
But as much as not everyone in the business world is keen on change and working with other organizations, the truth of the matter is that partnerships are the way to go if one wants to survive and build their business.
The partnership will help individual organisations to leverage on each other and use each other’s strengths to get a greater outcome of efforts or initiatives that are started
The journey must not be rushed so that the partners are comfortable with working together, objectives are aligned and relationships within the partnership are cemented for efficient work output and so that the people being brokered are left without doubt of the benefits the partnership will bring to them.
However, as much as the outcome of the partnering journey is important, the journey is equally crucial and all aspects of the journey build up to the Partnership Agreement being signed and indeed the realization of the partnership with organisations working together towards one goal for sustainable development because at the end of the day an individual organization can only do so much but a group of organisations can do much more together when they partner.