The collaborative partner network can achieve substantial success through the implementation of  a continuous improvement program that supports the network.  In order to achieve success in your collaborative partnership network you must encourage the participation and engagement from your partners.  In order to encourage the participation and engagement from your partners your network must identify and implement initiatives that benefit the partners.  I think that the most effective method to identify, prioritize and execute these initiatives is through a robust continuous improvement program.  The continuous improvement program provides additional benefits that will encourage the participation of your partners, that is the opportunity for your partners to participate in the prioritization and also the opportunity for your partners to lead the initiatives that are important to them.

This lines up very well with the requirements that I’ve previously identified as critical to the success of your collaborative partnership; a shared leadership and the engagement of your partners.  The foundation of collaboration is the give and take among partners to support the needs and deliver mutually beneficial improvements across the network.  This requires an approach that encourages a give and take to the identification and delivery of the benefits.  What I mean by this is that every improvement initiative cannot be expected to benefit all members of the network.  This means that the improvements and initiatives must be selected and prioritized by consencious across the network.  In order for this to work and continue the full engagement and participation of the network members the selection must first focus on the benefits to the network and then identify how members of the network can internalize the value.  This also means that every initiative will not provide value to all individual members of the network, on the other hand, when the network benefits then all members of the network benefit.


While this continuous improvement program will deliver value to the network from the benefits realized through the prioritized initiative the second factor that is critical to the long term growth and success of your partnership network is the opportunity this program provides for your partners to own and lead the delivery of initiatives.  As I have discussed, the collaborative partnership is built and will prosper and flourish on a framework of partner engagement and participation.  This is based on the concept of a federation of partners where the leadership is shared and agreed to by the partners.  In other words, in order to maintain a vibrant collaborative partnership the leadership must be shared across the partners.  This can be realized by the continuous improvement program and encouraging partners to lead initiatives.  This practice will encourage partners to engage to deliver initiatives that will benefit from their expertise and encourage participation in the leadership of the partnership network. 

The key to success is encouraging partners across the network to engage and take on a leadership role.  The partnership network will languish and eventually wither and die without the fully engaged participation of the partners.  I believe the continuous improvement program is the best method to encourage this engagement and participation.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have you discussed engagement and participation with your collaborative partners?  What methods have you identified and incorporated to encourage participation?  Have you incorporated a practice to encourage your partners to take a leadership role in initiatives?