Quote of the week
“The effort needs to help each partner organization achieve something significant.”
You sometimes wonder why government can’t be better at just getting things done. David Frum recently noted that before the Second World War LaGuardia Airport was built in 24 months, whereas today a New York railway station is now six years behind schedule and still building…
One solution on the infrastructure side has been for government to work with the private sector to get things built (public private partnerships). Increasingly, collaborating with other sectors in other areas, not only to get things done more efficiently but to co-own the outcomes, is being explored.
Collaboration understands that governments can’t do it alone and need help.
McKinsey offers seven ways to make partnerships work.
First, all parties need to have a reason to get together: enlightened self-interest is “the only genuine sustainable motive.” This often happens when the world changes quickly and everyone agrees things have to change.
Second, based on the notion of a “champion,” McKinsey calls for a “fairy godmother,” defined as one of the partnering organizations that will invest more than the others in the relationship to promote success.
Third, goals must be simple and make sense to everyone. This step gets rid of conflicting agendas and brings everyone onto the same page.
McKinsey recommends getting a facilitator. Even though everyone may agree on goals, culture clash based on individual incentives and biases can kill a partnership. A facilitator can iron these out and build trust.
Watch for organizations that don’t put their best people into a partnership arrangement, including their senior leaders. It speaks to a lack of commitment.
Sixth, be flexible in defining success. You may not achieve everything you set out to accomplish, but progress may take unexpected forms and should be celebrated.
Finally, be ready to let go. While some arrangements may morph into ongoing partnerships, permanency isn’t a criterion of success. When it’s over, terminate it.