Partnerships, collaborations and their dynamics have fascinated me for a long time. Over the years, I have developed resources that have been used in a variety of partnership planning scenarios.
I was originally introduced to the world of partnerships and collaborations through an international academic partnership for a two-year project that did not go as planned. The project was a success but for the lead partner, the objectives and outcomes were not as expected. Evidently not all partners were on the same page at the start. Diverse organisational cultures and different understandings of the scope and objectives of the venture impacted on the journey and the outcomes. This was not a unique experience. I have observed the same pattern over and over again.
I was later employed by a partnership of universities that set up a company; a partnership which although it had its challenges at the start, is now still in existence many years later. It was an interesting time navigating through the dynamics of ten diverse partners going through the teething problems of an early stage venture.
For the last 16 years, I have been working with partnerships and collaborations of all kinds, assisting through processes to joint venture or develop strategic alliances; with varying levels of success and in some cases, failure. I have learnt to spot potential problems right from the start, able to identify flashpoints, in some cases, within the first meeting or conversation.
More recently I have spoken to business owners who've been involved in partnerships at some stage of their business careers. It was alarming how many had gone into their partnership ventures without any real planning. They assumed that everybody was on the same page, but reality proved otherwise. It's not surprising that as many as two out of three partnership ventures fail.
I developed this toolbox to help you build your business case for a partnership or collaborative venture and address potential risks before you put ink to paper. If you are already in a partnership that isn’t going the way you expected, this toolbox may help you identify why and give you the motivation and tools to put things right.