In recent topics I’ve covered what I believe to be two key factors that provide the framework to build a robust robust collaborative partnership network.  Initially I suggested there were three steps and in this discussion I will cover the third step, addressing the challenges of your network partners.  I also mentioned that the key to a successful and robust collaborative partner network is at odds with the common competitive behavior that generates success in an individual or a company.   These three factors that are critical to the success of your partnership; open communication, prioritizing initiatives based on the benefits to the network and addressing the challenges of your network partners are also three factors that are at odds with the competitive behavior that is encouraged in business.

Addressing the challenges of your network partners is the key third step to implementing a the collaborative partnership network.  This third step is critical to the success of your collaborative partnership because it demonstrates the commitment to the network.  This commitment to the network demonstrated by putting the network, and even other partner, benefits before your own will encourage the participation and commitment of the other members.  This, more than any other action, demonstrates the commitment of the partners in the network. 

This third factor will also support and encourage your network partners to step up and lead initiatives that provide their benefits.  This action also encourages the participation of the partnership members.  I believe the objective to these factors is creating a type of federation for your partnership network where partners are free and encouraged to participate, communication and engage with the partners to support the objectives of the network and the partners in the network.  The success of the partnership network will also ensure the success of the partners within the network. 

This supportive nature of the partnership network is at odds with many of the behaviors encouraged in business.  This will take a focused attitude and practice to take into account the benefits and objectives of your partners, this requires a long term view towards the partnership.  In addition to the long term view of partnership relationship the success of the network depends on the ability of the partners to allow and more importantly to encourage other partners to step up and actively participate and lead activities and initiatives.  This view and ability to allow partners to lead is really the action that turns a ‘client - service provider’ role into a true partnership.  This is also probably one of the most difficult aspects to obtain because it requires many to go against their nature to control.  This is the reason that I mentioned that these activities require focus and practice to help them to internalize these behaviors. 


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?