If one partner expects an equal relationship and another assumes they have a greater say in things then you have all the ingredients for a nasty tasting dish of disaster.
Similarly, if the word partnership is used when what is really meant is a glorified type of consultation, misunderstandings, heart ache and a swift divorce from a meaningless marriage are likely to follow.
I have found that the following simple model, based on the work of Educe Ltd, helps organisations to explore and clarify the exact level of relationship they require with others:
•Couldn’t care less (I’ll do as I like)
•Coexisting (You stay on your turf and I’ll stay on mine)
•Co-operating (I’ll lend you a hand when my work is done)
•Co-ordinating (We need to adjust what we do to avoid overlap and confusion)
•Collaborating (let’s work on this together)
•Co-owning (We feel totally responsible)
•Combining (we becomes I)
How might the level of relationship change as the nature of your engagement changes, matures or declines?
Might you need different levels of relationship within different parts or levels of your collaborative ventures?
Are all those involved clear about the levels of relationship required at any given time? Or is friction being caused by mismatches of expectation?
Make the level of relationship clear to all and avoid the disappointment of mutually frustrating encounters.
For more about collaboration go to: Sleeping-with-the-Enemy-Achieving-Collaborative-Success-2nd-Edition