It is quite likely that at some stage a partnership's operations or direction will change. In many cases change is healthy, can work to the benefit of the partnership and demonstrates the flexibility and maturity of your arrangement.
Broadly speaking, three areas can change: the partnership model; the partnership aims; or partnership personnel.
Your partnership needs to be able to adjust to outside changes, and to recognise when change is needed to make the partnership function more effectively.
The reasons why your partnership needs to change may be obvious or more subtle, and can include:
The partnership not achieving its stated aims because the model is not working or the aims were unrealistic. Or the original aims have been met and a new partnership model is needed to expand on the good work.
There are new or more pressing community issues that can be addressed through a new partnership model, or growth/changes in your business have made the current partnership model either unworkable or no longer beneficial.
There is a need or desire to expand the partnership to include more activities or new partners.
An evaluation has revealed that some partnership elements are not working well.
A change in capacity or resources for one of the partners.
Key partnership drivers have left your business (perhaps they have moved away or retired).
It is vital is to talk to your community partner if you feel there is a need for change. Don't ignore it - if your business has a feeling that something is "not quite right", it needs to be addressed immediately.
Many of these issues are quickly identified and resolved when the community-business partnership features good communication and understanding. In partnerships where there is little communication, small problems can cause conflict, frustration or lack of commitment to the partnership.
Partners should review their relationship regularly to quickly identify these problems - use the Help Sheet
Reviewing Your Partnership to help you do this.
Also, the two-part Help Sheet
can help partners identify the cause of any negative feelings and deal with them.
To help make sure your discussions are positive and come up with a constructive solution:
Be honest, open to new ideas and constructive in your discussions
Be positive (don't criticise you partner if they've had problems that have resulted in the need for change), but be frank about what you think can and can't be achieved.
Stick to the issue at hand.
Be aware of your strengths and work to them.
Have both partners agree on the changes and their respective roles (consider putting it in writing).
Effecting the changes:
Follow through on decisions, as quickly as possible.
Communicate the changes to staff, advising them of how they will be impacted.