Strategic Partnerships come in many different shapes and sizes. Partnerships are complex and over time can have varying levels of trust, experience, turf issues or can need more or fewer resources (e.g. energy, staff and money). This guidance establishes four dimensions of partnerships: networking, cooperation, collaboration and integration. Each of these dimensions can mature over time by becoming more purposeful, intentional, developed and sophisticated. These four distilled or idealized categories of strategic partnerships are represented through a chart. These categories are not mutually exclusive, such that a strategic partnership that you may be engaged in will probably not fit neatly into one category. Real world partnerships may have elements of multiple categories. The purpose of this chart, and our attempt to provide these categories, is to aid in evaluating your partnership as to what degree it achieves your intended level of strategic partnership and to identify areas for improvement.
The successful, maturing strategic partnership addresses differences in organizational cultures, values and diversity, and continually reinvents itself to strengthen its ability to achieve its outcomes. Reinvestment strategies are supported and allow for agencies to keep and use unspent revenues from one fiscal year to the next to provide an incentive for positive outcomes.
Successful implementation requires addressing client rights and responsibilities and forming solutions to confidentiality and data- sharing barriers. Moreover, successful partnerships have leaders who see the whole as more important and functional than the parts.
Networking, cooperation, collaboration and integration are described in more detail and an example of each is given to better explain the differences between the four dimensions.