Under partnering, all parties agree
to focus on turning creative, workable solutions into
reality. To do this, avoid adversarial contention and
"turf protection" by developing common grounds for agreement.
Sometimes dragons will heat villages in exchange for
a place to live.
To accomplish Reclamation's
mission , we need to build partnerships. Partnerships are simply
groups of interested people, organizations, agencies, and others
working together to address a problem. They may be loosely associated
or they may have formal charters with mission statements and
organizational structures. Rarely will these groups have the
same expectations, agendas, or values--in fact, unless all the
different perspectives are involved in the partnership, your
process is doomed.
- Identify common ground to form agreements
- Build the foundation for agreements,
- Identify future or present problems and opportunities
- Determine what problems are worth working on
- Define and work toward common goals
- Pool resources to more effectively address problems
- Encourage innovation
- Get the consent necessary to solve problems
- Educate participants
- Exert pressure on other members for an open, fair, and
When To Consider Partnerships
Not every process requires partners. Prerequisites
- Real needs
- These needs are associated with the organizations' objectrives
(e.g., address enviornmental issues, reduce cost overruns,
improve water quality, promote effective and wise use of resources).
- Commitment to an open process
- Partners value long-term relationships where trust and
openness are taken for granted. The focus changes from a set
position to openly addressing problems and helping achieve
others' needs, concerns and objectives as well as their own.
Reclamation must be willing to divulge information and ensure
actions mirror statements.
- Commitment from top management
- Management must be willing to share the responsibility
for selling the concept, implementing needed organizational
changes, and providing information.
When you consider the advantages and disadvantages of partnerships,
think about things other than cost and time. For example, it
may cost less and take less time now to do the work yourself
than to initiate a partnership effort. However, a partnership
may save money in the long run by ensuring that your solution
will be supported through active participation. Addressing the
problem within the broader contexts provided by partnerships
helps determine what influences need to be examined. Perhaps
most importantly, partnerships evolve beyond the immediate problem
to address long-term solutions.
Advantages include increasing:
- You have more people, funds, and expertise to draw upon
to solve a problem. Dividing labor
and finding the right people are more
- You can get more ideas, perspectives, and potential solutions
from a cooperative effort.
- Risk taking
- As risk is spread out among more people, the more people
are willing to take risks.
- Awareness and consent
- Partnerships reach more people, and thus increase public
awareness. They also show that this is a fair, open process,
which can help build support and
minimize vetos .
Disadvantages include requiring:
- Time and skill
- The core team must include at least one to three people
who have the time, and facilitiation
skills to get everyone to work together and to communicate.
- Participants need to understand conflict, group dynamics,
etc. so that insubstantial slights aren't blown up into insurmountable
mountains, and that negotiations and compromises can carve
paths through real barriers .
- Maintaining motivation and enthusiasm
- Processes take time, and people will be disillusioned
(We'll never get anywhere. This is taking far too long. Why
don't we just ban automobiles and be done with it?) Results
are not always visible. Carefully set up and celebrate
milestones and review often
. New players and old can thus see what has happened and what
Carefully and deliberately base workable relationships on
mutual respect, trust, and integrity. Partnering fosters synergistic