Room for Improvement - How does my Business Improve its Partnership?

Almost every partnership has some room for improvement – however large or small it may be.

Be it partnership activities, communication, personnel or other issues, there is often something you can do, or that needs to be done, to improve your partnership.

Improving Partnership Personnel:

Questions you can ask to pinpoint areas of improvement include:
  • Do we have the right staff involved in the partnership?
  • Are enough people or too many people involved?
  • How could we improve the levels of involvement?
  • How can we improve the capabilities of those involved?
  • Do we have adequate back-ups, or “deputies” in place?
Potential solutions to address issues raised include:
  • Recruiting more people or getting more of your staff involved.
  • Weeding out those who are not contributing.
  • Looking at the abilities of those involved and ensuring they are suitable.
  • Providing training or better orientation for community group members to educate them about the partnership and its activities.
  • Appointing “deputies” to help as back-ups for your business’ partnership members.

Improving Partnership Activities:

Questions you could ask to pinpoint improvement needs include:
  • What is our partnership doing in terms of activities?
  • What sort of response are these activities getting?
  • Are there better alternatives?
  • Are there additional activities we could be running?
  • How could we improve the activities we do?
To address issues raised by those questions, try considering:
  • The types of activities your partnership runs – consider
    • More activities.
    • Less of them.
    • Different types of activities.
    • Better scheduling of activities, or,
    • More activities in which the wider public can take part.
  • Improving training in relation to activities.
  • Improving promotion of activities – either internally within your business, within your partnership as a whole or in the wider public domain through the use of the media – refer to the Media and Your Partnership help sheets at the Our Community website for help on using the media to your advantage.

Improving Partnership Communication and Cooperation:

Questions you may ask to pinpoint improvement needs include:
  • How are we communicating with our partner? Is our organisation being honest and respectful, and is our partner being honest and respectful in return?
  • How are we communicating our strategies, both to our community group partner and to the public? Could we improve this?
  • If there have been any conflicts, how have they been resolved? Is the partnership resolving conflicts properly and fairly?
  • Are both parties pulling their weight when it comes to partnership responsibilities? Are both working together?
Solutions to address issues raised by those questions could include:
  • Re-evaluating your communication strategies, both within your firm and also to those outside your business.
  • Considering using the media to communicate better to the wider public.
  • Meeting with your partner to resolve any communication problems within the relationshiop itself. Ask yourself:
    • Have you strayed from the rules set out at the start of your partnership?
    • Have you or your partner changed, thus making those early guidelines no longer relevant?
  • You may need to talk about and possibly re-assess partnership responsibilities if there are problems. The Our Community help sheet Sharing the Load can help you do this.

Improving Partnership Direction:

Questions that may help pinpoint improvement needs include:
  • Where do you think the partnership heading, and is this where you and your partner organisation want it to head?
  • Is there a need to re-examine the direction in which the partnership is heading and change it?
  • Is there a need to re-examine your original partnership direction and be willing to alter it because you or your partner have changed?
  • Are you feeling the partnership lacks direction completely?
Solutions to address issues raised by those questions could include:
  • A re-evaluation of the direction – both intended and current – of your partnership.
  • A review or meeting on the matter with your partner organisation.
  • Reflection on your stated aims at the start of the partnership:
  • If they are still applicable, return to those aims.
  • If not, formally develop and articulate new aims and a new direction.
There are a number of help sheets at the Our Community website that you can refer to for help improving partnerships. They include: