Nonprofit Performance 360 Issue 12

10. Increase personal satisfaction. How does this enhance the identity and objectives of all the players, bringing a new level of personal satisfaction? How did you do? How many of these strategic elements can you put into play? Ideally, you’ll have at least five for a sustainable and valuable relationship. The Partnership Journey The secret to a long-lasting partnership is to go slow. Creating strategic partnerships is a lot like dating, with the marriage (contract) occurring after both parties feel connected and there is mutual value proceeding. A partnership develops over time in phases. In a strategic partnership, emotional involvement precedes financial involvement. Players resist moving to higher financial involvement without building a trusted working relationship.

Expanding the Pie How can you create strategic outcomes for all the players? In Figure 2, an expansion of the partnership model, you’ll identify how you can explore a strategic partnership ranging from a safe experience in the lower left quadrant with shared customers and members, a shared vendor list, referrals, or a simple partnership of convenience, where the opportunity is too good to pass up, yet goes no further.

Moving along to the lower right quadrant, you can start to do joint marketing, bringing new members and customers attracted by the additional value of the partnership, producing co-branded goods and services, or providing mentoring across the two organizations. Moving to the upper right quadrant, you can look at sharing more responsibility and cooperation. For a business-only relationship, look at the upper left quadrant for shared resources, such as facilities and equipment or a financial investment. Using these models, you and your executive team can quickly determine where you are and where you want to go with your strategic relationships. Want to talk about it? Let’s have a conversation. Mark S A Smith works with leaders to predictably grow their organizations through upgraded executive leadership skills and effective member acquisition systems. He hosts the Executive Strategy Summit every quarter to help you up-level your executive mindset, skillset, and tool set; you’ll leave with a fresh, Monday-ready business plan for your organization.

The four-quadrant partnership model (Figure 1) explains how to make the partnership work. The horizontal axis is the emotional involvement, ranging from low to high.The vertical axis is financial involvement from low to high. The lower left is where there is low financial risk and low emotional reward, and the upper right quadrant is where there is high risk and high reward. All partnerships start in the lower left quadrant, where you explore the partnership, creating comfort. The relationship moves to the right with increasing emotional involvement as there is a personal investment of the partnership leadership team. This creates commitment that leads to a closer financially involved relationship. The partnership relationship then moves from the bottom to the top right of the model with increasing financial involvement. In this quadrant, together you create mutual customers (members or constituents), and with this success, have a positive impact on the leadership careers of those directing the partnership. The only time you move from the bottom left to the top left is when you’re looking for an investor partnership, with limited emotional involvement, where it’s just business.

22 I Nonprofit Performance Magazine

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