Risks of Business Partnering You Should Know

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Each business attracts a different set of values, priorities, competencies and resources into a partnership. The challenge of any partnership is to bring these diverse contributions together, linked by a frequent vision in order to achieve sustainable development goals.

Organizations choose to partner because they cannot achieve their desired goals by additional, non-partnership means. To put it differently, there’s inevitably a level of self-interest from the motivation of all partners and each partner will need to find benefits from their collaboration, measured in their own terms, in case their involvement in the partnership is to be sustained over time.


Interestingly, the forms of benefit that could accrue to associate organizations from participation are similar for each business, whether business, public sector or civil society. Such Possible benefits include:

Access (to understanding ): Mitigating risk and diminishing possible mistakes by a greater comprehension of the operational context
Access (to individuals ): Drawing on a broader pool of technical expertise, expertise, skills, labor, and networks
Effectiveness: Establishing more suitable products and services, whether commercial or non-profit
Efficiency: diminishing (by discussing ) costs and delivery systems and preventing duplication
Innovation: Creating unexpected/new means of addressing old issues and complex challenges
Human resource development: Enhancing professional skills and competencies in the workforce (many report this as a significant unexpected benefit from functioning cross-sectorally)
Long-term stability and impact: Reaching greater’reach’ by being an efficient and effective way an enlarged sustainable growth impact.
Standing and credibility: Reaching genuinely earned organizational standing and greater credibility.
A note on individual partner benefits

Whilst it is vital for partners to share a frequent goal and to concur the hoped-for results, impacts and business to get their venture as a whole, it’s likewise significant that partners recognize and accept that each partner organization has the right to expect benefits that will be unique to them. When possible partners spend time getting to know each other and thereby raising their understanding of each other’s priorities, individual partners feel more able to exhibit their specific goals. Increasingly Partnering Agreements reflect the best of every partner to attain certain goals as well as common goals. The key is to make certain that any specific goals are okay (even if not shared) into the other spouses and, of course, to check they’re not in conflict with the shared goal of the partnership.

The partnership as a whole will profit from every individual partner organization seeing tangible value-added to their organizational goals and priorities. It is thus in the interests of every partner to know about and to bring about individual partner goals — where possible.


It is becoming increasingly clear that partnering isn’t a low-cost, quick fix or risk-free alternative. Indeed the expenses of partnering can be large, not least because of the time required to research, set and manage the partner relationships. Potential partners need to take into account the opportunity costs and, rather, set some benchmarks against which they will assess whether the hoped-for outcomes of partnering are actually worth the investment they’re making. Too often, partnering in its early stages can be a catch 22′; partners spend energy, time and ideas (often over months and sometimes years) and then continue to stick with the endeavor when the transaction costs are becoming unacceptable. This is often because they feel pressure from their coworkers to get some kind of return on investment.

As a help to organizations contemplating a partnership approach, we advise an early internal consideration of these areas of possible risk including:

Reduction of freedom: the challenge of shared decision-making procedures; the demand for building consensus with spouses before action can be taken and the implications of broader liability (to other partners and also to broader beneficiaries)
Conflicts of interest: where a decision or action that is right for the interests of their partnership but might be at odds with the individual organization’s interests
Drain on funds: dedication (often significantly greater than expected ) of energy and time of key employees in partnership building and project development along with any additional financial or other resource contributions
Implementation challenges: the day-to-day demands of delivering a partnership program as a collaborative enterprise, with all the additional direction, monitoring, reporting and analysis requirements that involve.

A note on individual spouse risks

The venture as a whole will profit from each individual partner organization mitigating and managing risk effectively. It is thus in the interests of each partner to be aware of and also to contribute to reducing the risk for each partner organization, wherever possible.

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