If you would like to do an online self-assessment of the degree to which your organisation is Fit for Partnering, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Is your organisation institutionally Fit for Partnering?
Whether NGO or government, UN or business, there has been a huge shift in understanding of the need to collaborate, often across sectors, to work more effectively and efficiently, to contribute to achieving development goals, to achieve social innovation and business sustainability. Partnerships, when done well, bring the ability to achieve more with less, to combine resources and find innovative solutions, to leverage others’ unique competencies and achieve win-win outcomes, and to tackle intrinsically multi-sector challenges.
While many organisations have put collaboration front and centre as a key strategic approach, most are finding it challenging. Scaling up the use of partnerships requires a significant shift in the way an organisation is set up and operates, in the internal incentive structures and competencies required and in its culture and behaviours.
Through its work with a range of organisations from across the sectors, TPI has developed the concept of ‘Fit for Partnering‘ – the degree to which an organisation is institutionally set up and capable of achieving its goals through partnering with excellence.
TPI’s framework recognises four foundational elements: leadership and strategy; systems and processes; skills and support; and the partnering culture.
TPI works with organisations, supporting the organisational change required for them to become Fit for Partnering. The process starts with a thorough analysis of the existing situation across the organisation along with a series of detailed recommendations for improvements the organisation can make.
TPI then provides support over a period of time, helping the organisation to develop the strategies, build supportive systems and processes, put in place the right incentive structures and build skills, competencies and a pro-partnering culture.
Fit for Partnering Survey
In order to help organisations identify areas to develop to strengthen their institutional partnering capability, TPI is now launching the Fit for Partnering Framework in survey form. This is a light-touch service offered to help organisations assess their preparedness to partnering and the actions they might need to take to move towards partnering with excellence.
The Fit for Partnering service is in three parts:
- An initial conversation to discuss your organisation’s needs, and to establish a relevant sample size and spread, as well as a timeline for the survey,
- The survey itself, which is taken online separately by participating individuals, at their convenience,
- The assessment of the results from the survey.
We will send you a qualitative analysis of your organisations’ current leadership, processes, skills and culture, with recommendations for key areas to strengthen, build up, explore or discuss within your organisation. The evaluation process provides a guide to begin asking the right questions and framing strategic discussions around partnering in the most constructive way for your organisation. The analysis, incorporating our own expertise and experience, will identify specific actions and immediate priorities to build your institutional capacity to partner effectively.
Examples of our work
In 2007, TPI wrote the seminal report, Realising the Potential: Mobilising and maximising the corporate contribution to UNICEF’s mission. The report set out an ambitious new agenda for UNICEF’s engagement with business which underpinned its partnering strategy and is being implemented to this day. The report included the first ever Fit for Partnering organisational analysis along with a set of recommendations to help UNICEF deliver on the new partnering agenda.
Major oil and gas company
TPI worked with the company and its partners to understand both the external challenges and internal blockages staff were facing in developing partnerships with NGOs. As part of a range of support, TPI helped to develop new legal agreements that were supportive of a partnership approach (as opposed to a procurement contractual arrangement) as well as training staff in partnering skills.
United Nations Rome-based agencies
TPI has worked for many years with the food and agriculture-focussed Rome-based UN agencies, supporting them as they undertake the organisational change required for them to partner with excellence. Support has included developing corporate partnership strategies, undertaking Fit for Partnering analyses, system and process development, creation of tools and guidelines and capacity building programmes.
Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)
Through a mixture of original research, interviews and workshops, TPI developed a strategic framework and guidelines for PAHO to collaborate with a range of partners, most notably the private sector. This included the creation of PAHO’s flagship ‘Partners Forum for Action Against Chronic Disease’, a multi-stakeholder platform which brings together companies, government agencies, PAHO and NGOs to inspire, facilitate and support action against chronic disease.
In addition to helping to convene the Forum, TPI worked within PAHO to build understanding of the potential of partnerships with the private sector and conducted a capacity building programme in Latin America to build the skills of PAHO staff to partner more effectively.
Better Cotton Initiative
TPI developed a set of partnering tools and guides for the Better Cotton Initiative, helping them to standardize their approach across the multiple collaborations they are engaged in.
SOS Children’s Villages
TPI supported SOS Children’s Villages in developing better understanding of corporate partnerships and to build their partnering capacity in Europe, Africa and South East Asia to develop and manage mutually beneficial partnerships with the corporate sector. This work included the analysis of current trends in business-NGO partnerships in the Netherlands and India. To further embed the partnering approach, SOS Children’s Villages incorporated partnering skills training modules in their FDC Academy (2010-2011).
TPI supported UNDP in creating policy guidelines covering an over-arching UNDP partnership definition, principles of good practice, instruments, processes and review procedures to help UNDP partner more systematically and more effectively with others, including the private sector (2008).
Also see our examples of tailored training programmes, designed to build an organisation’s capacity, skills and knowledge to partner effectively.