Remember, the term partnership basically means: “An association of two or more people as partners”. For a partnership to really work, all partners need to contribute.
In any new partnership, there are basically 3 stages of development:
Stage #1) Identification and Start-Up
Partners find each other, they talk about what “partnership” might look like, and they need to do the things necessary to make it official. These may be legal documents, a written covenant, a roles and expectation sheet, etc… There’s a process that partners must walk through and in this stage is discovery, definitions, vision casting and sharing the dream.
Stage #2) Maintenance
Partnerships usually don’t just take care of themselves. You have to work at a good partnership. While maintenance implies that you’re just keeping things going, it’s really more that that. In this stage you are each doing what you’ve agreed to do, you’re determining if the partnership is beneficial and worthwhile, and you’re learning to work together. This is an important stage and it takes time. There will be bumps in the road as you go through these steps.
Stage #3) Strategic Collaboration
This stage is experienced when all of the partners determine that things are working well, that there’s a good connection point and that the partnership is valid. At this point, you can begin to talk about taking your partnership to a whole new level. In the strategic collaboration stage, amazing things happen! All partners bring the best that they’ve got, they work together for the greater goal and they sacrifice their own desires for the “partnerships” desired outcomes. It’s an electric time where vision, energy and engagement all come together.
Partnerships must continually be evaluated. Partnerships should not go on indefinitely, but must operate with a purpose, and when there is no longer a purpose, then the best thing to do is to end the partnership.