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Have You Heard of Canned Heat? Partnership Rocks.

You have to love when you search “songs about working together” and you get something this great.

Our High River is about working together.  We’ve talked about it before here and here. Sounds great – right? The reality though…sometimes you just want to pick up your ball and go home. Why can’t we all just get along?

I had the privilege of attending some training in October and was so impressed with it that I continued on with their accreditation program – it’s the practical answer to the question above.  This group, Partnership Brokers Association (PBA), has taken the time to look at what get’s in the way of partnerships going smooth. Let’s go through the list – let me know below if these sound familiar. Just thinking about how ‘group projects’ went in school and what tends to go wrong, even with the smartest of adults.  Here’s the 5 pitfalls to partnerships identified by PBA:

  1. Uncertainty – what’s going on here?
  2. Power imbalance – who’s the boss? and, you aren’t the boss of me!
  3. Competitiveness – are we paddling in the same direction?
  4. Hidden agenda’s – do we know what everyone really wants out of the partnership?
  5. Anxiety about difference – they think different than me and it freaks me out.

Knowing that these are the speed bumps in working together helps us to be proactive.  The amount of time that it takes to fix relationships when they go wrong is frustrating and not only impacts the success of the project but sucks the life out of the people involved.  Here are the PBA principles that are the response, the way to circumvent the common pitfalls listed above:

  1. Courage – if you want to be innovative, creative, world changing with your work you are going to face uncertainty head on, together it’s easier!
  2. Equity – when each voice at the table is seen as equal the group as a whole is stronger, we have a lot of societal power imbalances, having this out in the open and allowing space for every voice will prevent resentment and create an atmosphere of respect that get’s things done.
  3. Mutual Benefit – a clear common goal, a north star if you will, can make all the difference in the world.
  4. Openness – when people speak up we know what we are dealing with.
  5. Diversity – different idea’s make your project stronger.

When you go together WELL – it feels so great.  Have you had a team, a partnership or a project that went smooth?  When a team ‘clicks’, when you are all in the zone together you end up not only with the happy heart that comes out of commitment, trust and respect but can have added value and breakthrough results! This often happens seemingly magically, what these principles allow is to be intentional about it.

Think about the partnerships you are in now (we are all in them…), do you think adding a dash of courage?  a pinch of openness? a dollop of mutual benefit, diversity or equity, might add some value? The best way to see it is to try it.  You can weave these idea’s into how you agree to work together, how you run your meetings, how you make decisions and how you solve problems when they come up. We know that working together can be hard, the time you spend on the front end is a great time and energy saver in the end.

Please let us know how it goes, having an issue with your partnership and want to talk it through?  Let’s have a cup of coffee.


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