Many marriages fail
in western society. I believe, for exactly the same reasons as these
marriages fail, that many intra-workplace relationships either fail
or do not reach their full potential, and their organization and the
individuals suffer as a result.
Get the relationships
right within the organization right and synergy usually results. When
this happens, productivity and profitability increases are the usual,
very welcome consequences.
So how do we get
the relationships right?
By introducing our
human capital to the principle of Partnering. Partnering is one of the
most effective communication/relationship strategies available to organizations.
Partnering is nothing
more than a strategy that assists people within an organization to work
together in a highly effective manner.
It involves some
very simple principles, most of them easily understood in isolation.
However, seldom is the power of their being used as a complete strategy
even remotely understood.
The principles are
This involves identifying
and discussing the common goals and objectives (work practices, communication
style, manner, dealing with customers, etc., etc.) that you share with
the people with whom you are entering a partnership arrangement. Equally
importantly, it involves people clearly understanding the areas where
they have different views and approaches.
the partnering context comes from formal open (and often facilitated)
discussion between the people entering the partnering arrangement and
concludes with the scheduling of areas of commonality and those in which
differences of opinion exist and from where problems are most likely
to rise in future.
2. Problem Areas
areas having been identified, the Partnering philosophy promotes establishing
a means of dealing with issues that do arise in an atmosphere of calm
at the start of a project rather than waiting until problems do arise
during the course of the project and trying to resolve them in a sea
History has shown
that Partnering recognizes that a broader perspective is required to
solve many problems within organizations which really arise from personality
clashes or inappropriate defense of positions. The broader perspective
can be gained using an "Escalation System." This involves
identifying people within an organization with the skills, experience
and position to solve problems before they get out of hand.
4. In a contractual
situation, this could be a representative from either side of the contractual
arrangement. In an internal situation, it could be a qualified counselor
from the Human Resources Department or even an externally appointed
System" quite often will have two or three layers in it, depending
the type of project, etc., and may even involve the CEO's of a couple
of organizations at its highest level.
There is a strong
connection between integrity and the addition of our signatures to documents.
I therefore believe that the real success of the Partnering system lies
in the Partnership Charter, which is a simple document no more than
a couple of pages which schedules the identified areas of agreement
between the people involved in a particular Partnering arrangement,
together with those identified areas of disagreement. It goes on to
schedule the method agreed for dealing of problems and the agreed "Escalation
System" including the parties nominated to be involved in this
It is difficult
to fix something if you do not even know it's broken. The success of
Partnering will depend, to a large extent, on regular reviews of the
system during the course of its application.
I challenge you
to experiment with Partnering. It is a great strategy for improving
workplace relationships and releasing the extra productivity that resides
within that gold mine of human resource potential within your organization.
If anybody would
like a copy of a Partnering Charter appropriate for the workplace, do
not hesitate to contact me and I will send you some extracts from my
book on the subject.
Until next issue,
good business and good life.