Be clear about the relationship: ‘Partnership’ has become a much misused and even abused word, to refer to any type of collaborative relationship. When applied even to unmistakably subcontracting relationships, it can feel like Orwellian ‘double speak’. Like when I call a plumber to do some work on my kitchen and call her or him my ‘partner’. No, a ‘partnership’ is expected to be a higher quality relationship. Not all more equal collaborations need to be partnerships: when I co-facilitate or co-evaluate with others that I may not have known before, we need to develop strong alignment and coherence as a team and apply relationship competencies. But it is understood that the collaboration is very task-specific and may very well be a one-off occurrence. When we talk about a ‘partnership’ (in the work sphere), it doesn’t mean the collaborating organisations are (almost) merging. They maintain their autonomy and can do much separately. But there is a longer time-perspective. Be clear where you are, on the spectrum.
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