Risks to your business will come at you from many directions and must be mitigated by as many different methods.  Collaboration may be one of the best methods to mitigate risk in your business.  You should view your risk mitigation efforts as a team sport and include many partners to achieve the greatest results.  I think that most of the time companies, and individuals, view collaboration as a means to achieve a business or personal objective and overlook an extremely valuable opportunity and that is to mitigate risk. My advice is don’t overlook this important and valuable opportunity to extend your partnership network and reduce your overall risk. 

In discussing risk mitigation and reflecting on my past experience and efforts in mitigating risks I see that collaboration may be the game changing type of factor in your risk mitigation efforts.  This may not be critical to large organizations such as a General Electric, or IBM because their organization is so large as to be considered a collaborative partnership in and of itself.  However, for the small and mid-sized organization the collaborative partnership network should be viewed as a key ingredient or method to mitigating business risk.  This does require a change to your viewpoint and open your business and yourself to helping a partner to mitigate the risk to their business as well as your own.

This risk mitigation exercise across your collaborative partnership network may just provide the greatest value to the network.  It will definitely provide a key reason to enter into a partnership and should be an integral criterial to the partner evaluation and selection process.  In fact I think its a good practice to evaluate your collaborative partner network risk to identify both methods to mitigate the risk and also additional potential partners to add to your network that can both support and benefit from the risk mitigation capabilities of the network. 

One additional important aspect to developing the risk mitigation properties of your network is to evaluate how the network can mitigate the risk for new partners.  Remember collaboration is working together to support the needs of the partners, this is a two way street that must focus on the value of the network.  This focus on the value of the network requires that sometimes members support their partners without a direct benefit.  They do this for the benefit and value of the network.  This process of evaluating how the network can support and benefit new partners may also turn into a whole new business opportunity for the entire network.  This is one of the soft benefits of the partnership; the potential to develop additional business opportunities for the partners.

And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

Have you evaluated your partnership network to identify how together you can mitigate and reduce business?  What factors and questions do you incorporate in evaluating and selecting partners for your collaborative network?  How can you incorporate your partnership network to help to mitigate risk?  Are you open and have your offered to support your partners in mitigating their business risk?