By Jocelyne Daw
In only one more month, we will be hosting another Partnership Brokering Level 1 Course here in Calgary. There's still time to apply, be sure to read on for more information about how this course can make your partnerships more successful!This is the fourth level 1 course we have hosted here in Alberta and every time I am astonished by the diverse learnings that participants have. The material inspires excellent discussion and reflection on the partnership brokering process.
1. Partnership Brokering is a growing global movementPartnership Brokering is a rapidly growing global movement. We have had participants from many different countries, and all sectors attend our courses. Businesses such as Unilever Britain, Shell Nigeria, GoldCorp Ghana, Accenture Malaysia, and Canada’s Agrifarm; nonprofit leaders from the YMCA, WorldVision, the International Institute for Local Development, and Alberta EcoTrust; and government officials from Holland, Switzerland and Britain have all joined in.It was a unique and assorted mix that leads to deep discussion, different perspectives and many new friendships. But most importantly the movement has highlighted the increasing importance of partnerships as more and more business, civil society and government initiatives are being launched with partnership and collaboration at their heart.2. There are 3 core partnership principles vital to the success of Partnership BrokeringThe Partnership Brokers Association (PBA) defines partnerships as “ongoing working relationship where risks and benefits are shared.” In practical terms this means every partner is involved in:
Co-creating projects & programs
Committing tangible resource contributions
Ensuring mutual accountability
PBA has identified three core principles vital to the partnership building process: equity, transparency and mutual benefit. These principles must be understood and agreed upon by all partners. They are the foundation upon which the partnership is built; and the ‘cement’ that holds it together. Why? Equity because it leads to respectHow do you build equity in a relationship where there are wide divergences in power, resources and influence? Equity is not the same as ‘equality’. Equity here means an equal right to be at the table and a validation of those contributions that are not measurable simply in terms of cash value or public profile.Transparency because it leads to trustOpenness and honesty in working relationships are the pre-conditions of trust – an essential ingredient for the successful of any partnership. Only with transparency can a partnership be truly accountable to each of its partners, donors and other stakeholders.Mutual benefit because it leads to sustainabilityFinally, if all partners are expected to contribute to the partnership they should also be entitled to benefit from the partnership. A healthy partnership works towards achieving specific benefits for each partner, often over and above the common benefits to all partners. Only in this way will the partnership ensure the continuing commitment of partners and its sustainability.3. Partnership brokering requires keys skills and competencies – all that can be learned and developedAn effective partnership is not just about principles; it’s about a process - one that can be complex and challenging. Success requires a particular skill set and knowledge of partnering processes. With these key skills, the right approach and positive aptitude, partnerships can achieve real impact.Core partnering skills required:• Interest-based negotiation: Negotiating the partnership based on an understanding of each partner’s underlying drivers, and priorities;• Brokering & facilitation: Bringing people together and managing the decision-making process.• Active listening and plain speaking: Being able to engage and articulate ideas and decisions appropriatelyEffective partnering requires individuals who live the power of AND:• Engaged AND committed• Objective AND reflective• Open to learn from experience AND change direction as necessaryBrokers aptitudes facilitate successful relationshipsBrokers are the vital link and are most successful when they help the partners to:• Take time to build strong working relationships• Foster genuine concern for each other’s underlying interests• Ensure there is more listening than talking• Encourage good communication skills at all levels• Help partners deal with difficulties rather than ignoring them• Balance flexibility with a rigorous approach• Focus on practical and sustainable resultsLevel One Partnership Broker TrainingCombining the resources, ingenuity and sweat equity of business, government, nonprofits and citizens is hard work. And to build, manage and scale partnerships requires sophisticated skills and expertise to navigate the delicate balancing act of common and organizational goals.The Level Two PBT course has helped better equip me to develop and deliver Level One partnership brokering training. The Level One training is an intensive learning opportunity for conveners and catalysts of collective impact partnerships. This course guides participants through a practical framework for partnership brokering and explores the vital role Partnership Brokers can play in the effective scoping, design and process management of partnerships.Join us as Partnership Brokers Association co-founder Ros Tennyson and I facilitate Level One training in Calgary. Click here for more details.