Building trust and managing conflict allow you to align your partnership to achieve maximum impact. Alignment means keeping people involved and getting out of the way to let them get things done. It also means negotiating changes when necessary. Personal and partnership performance issues are diminished greatly when what is to be achieved is clear and the door is left open about how to do it.
You may have seen the desk toy known as Newton’s Cradle. It consists of small silver balls, suspended on strings, that are aligned in a row. You lift one of the end balls and let it strike the next one in line, and the energy is transferred through the series of balls until the last one pops from the lineup, rising to the same height at which the first ball was dropped. The key is proper alignment — and the same principle is true for partnerships: You must align the individual members within the partnership structure and base everything you do on exactly the results you want. Align all the crucial components — capabilities, levels of involvement, self-interests and action decisions —with the desired strategic impact. Moreover, alignment means building trust and fostering conflict, both of which are essential to sustain everything else.
Partnership alignment is like growing a garden. Nothing happens suddenly; it is the practice of cultivating the garden that produces results. The soil must be right. Nutrients have to be provided. The crop must be weeded and thinned. The same attention and management is required to grow a partnership.
Give the people doing the work the opportunity to align roles responsibilities, policies and procedures with your partnership's desired strategic impact and you will create a healthy framework for success over the long haul.
Align Your Partnership around Your Desired Strategic Impact
Align your partnership around your desired strategic impact recommends that you focus everything you do around achieving your long-term outcomes. This section helps you ensure that what your partnership wants to do is tightly focused, yet how it will be implemented is left to those doing the work.
Build Trust by Sustaining Accomplishments Together
Build trust by sustaining accomplishments together stresses that trust is not about liking, being liked or getting your way. Rather, trust stems from reliance on one another to do what you say you will do competently, while success flows from achieving what you say you will achieve knowledgably. This section also provides a tool for chartering individuals and workgroups so they are clear about what they are to do, yet accountable to the partnership for what they achieve
Foster Conflict by Employing It as a Useful Tool
Foster conflict by employing it as a useful tool reinforces that conflict is not only inevitable, it is desirable. And since opposition within the group is to be expected, make it work for you, not against you. This section further explores what conflict is — and is not — and provides tools for fostering it in a healthy, productive way, while managing fighting (which is altogether different).
Use a ‘Living’ Performance Checklist to Achieve Strategic Impact
Use a ”living” performance checklist to achieve strategic impact shows you how to pull all the pieces together, in writing, to help partnership members live up to their responsibilities and allow the partnership to achieve its strategic impact. This section also provides an alignment tool, as well as explains the importance of three other key factors: partnership policies and procedures; the role of staff; and support from partner organizations.