Are you still dating your high school boyfriend?
Kudos to you if you are. Or, if you married the guy, I’m envious!
But if you’re like me, you’re in touch with only a few high school friends. As we take on new roles in our personal lives – as an aunt, business owner, member of a faith community – we expect that the types of people we spend time with will evolve with our changing needs for friendship, entertainment and support.
As leaders in #socialchange we don’t always give thought to when our organizational relationships are serving us well. Since time and resources are finite and valuable, that’s a problem.
I have noted that the most successful #socialentrepreneurs among my clients are always assessing their collaborations. They keep track of when the priorities of longtime partners may be diverging. They look for influential organizations whose interests are adjacent to theirs, and who could be cultivated to become important allies.
By reviewing organizational collaborations consistently, leadership groups or advocacy teams can better decide whether the time they spend collaborating is truly furthering their strategic goals. On the resources page of my website I have a simple, straightforward tool for doing this.
But the tool is less important than consistent observation and reflection. The practice of reflection builds a habit of looking for potential relationships that could be easy to miss. When a city librarian attends a naturalization training, or a PhD student requests publications on white nationalism, a practice of inquiry leads staff who run those programs to wonder why. And perhaps follow up to explore opportunities.
Do your partnerships need a refresh? This tool is a work-in-progress. I’d love to hear your experiences with it!