Virtual specialist

Optimising Performance Strategic Partnerships and Collaborative Networks

This product works in all sectors: the Private sector, the Public sector and the not-for-profit sector. It is equally applicable to collaboration within an organisation as across sectors.

In the USA collaborative networks are big news and starting to catch on here too. And no wonder, because they lead to increased profits.

In today's world strategic partnerships and collaborative networks are replacing hierarchy as the dominant organising structure. Your success depends largely on understanding this and being comfortable working this way.

Characteristics of relationships in the past

  1. Many shallow relationships
  2. Adversarial relationships
  3. Different agendas
  4. Large, complex, inflexible contracts
  5. Buyer's aim was to get supplier to deliver against detailed specifications or penalty
  6. Supplier's aim was to avoid penalty

Characteristics under partnering

  1. A few solid relationships
  2. Aim is to achieve a unified set of goals and objectives
  3. Promotes understanding cooperation and trust.

Examples of partnering processes

  • A telecommunications company and a software supplier, each dependent on the other for the development of their product
  • A bank and an insurance company working jointly to develop and distribute new products
  • A fire authority and forest owners
  • All of Government approaches
  • Anyone who has a supplier or other stakeholders who are important to their success.

Conceptual Background

I first ran into the concept when reading Rosebeth Moss Kanter's "When Giants Learn To Dance". In this she described how organisations were changing and becoming what she called "P.A.L.s" (Partnerships, Alliances and Linkages). In the past she said, organisation charts used to be like a pyramid; then came the concept of turning the pyramid upside down so that customers were on the top and management was on the bottom. Today, she says, organisations are more like a sock pulled inside out. The most important thing in future will not be what's inside the organisation but rather what's outside it.

There is a body of new knowledge and two world views (Big Pie and Systems Thinking) required by managers to be successful at cooperation and collaboration.

Does your organisation/Sector pass the collaboration test?

Rate your organisation's or Sector's success at collaboration by answering the these questions...

Outcomes of the Process

  1. All parties understanding the other's business to a deeper level including the value chains and where cooperation and direct ownership are most important.
  2. All parties with a deeper awareness of the major principles of partnering and of each other's aspirations and agreeing how they will work together.
  3. All parties with a clear vision of their joint future, understanding what the end result of better cooperation could ideally look like, and the advantages and disadvantages from each others perspective.
  4. All parties jointly develop and agree the key strategies which will drive the partnership towards their vision of the future.

The benefits

In the Private sector good partnership agreements result in true win-win benefits for both sides:

The Buyer getsThe Supplier getsBoth Parties get
reduced inventorylong term securityextra confidence
guaranteed deliveryimproved buying powermore innovation
cost reductionsmarket recognitionjoint problem solving
better qualitybusiness developmentbetter communications.

In the public sector we have found benefits to be:

  1. More cooperation and collaboration between departments and/or sectors
  2. People working together with the end client more firmly in mind
  3. People seeing the bigger system rather than their little piece of the bigger system
  4. Faster decision-making
  5. Better decisions
  6. More productivity
  7. Better Outcomes.

When to get help with cooperation and collaboration

The time to put a process in place is when you are alive and well in the market place, not when you're in trouble. Specifically-

  1. Whenever the focus is not clearly on the required Outcomes (Public Sector)
  2. Whenever the focus is not clearly on the customer and service
  3. When various parts of the organisation/Sector seem to have different agendas
  4. When managers are political and want power more than results
  5. When barriers and silos need be broken down
  6. When decisions are slow and poorly focused
  7. When communications need to be faster and more open.

Probable outcomes of getting help with cooperation and collaboration

  1. Focus moves from internal matters to be clearly on the customer and the end result
  2. All parts of the organisation work to the same agenda
  3. All organisation that make up the sector work to the same objective
  4. Managers are less political and value results more than power
  5. Barriers and silos are broken down
  6. Decisions are faster and more focused
  7. Communications are faster and more open.

Product support

This product has been developed and is supported by Bruce Holland with help where required from other members of the Virtual Group Business Consultants.


All work undertaken by Bruce Holland is guaranteed. If at the end of the program the client doesn't feel that they have received value for money, they may adjust the bill and pay an amount equal to the value they feel they received.

Next step

For more information about how you can use our Strategic Partnerships and Collaborative Networks Program give the Virtual Manager a call or ring Bruce Holland direct.

Bruce Holland
Phone +6421 620456
Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills

Web site design by Web Success CONTACT   |   make an enquiry   |   search   |   site map   |   home