An effective strategy for partnerships establishes an approach to building and maximizing relationships to achieve positive outcomes for children, youth and families. When working with external partners, it is important for leadership to understand the context in which the agency is operating. Unless the agency is new, which brings about its own dynamics, typically there are past factors which could impact the potential effectiveness of the partnerships. Answers to the following questions will assist in clarifying an intentional and clearly communicated approach which will also consider the history of partners.
- What are the current needs of the children, youth and families and does the agency have the capacity to address those needs?
- Who does the agency currently partner with to meet those needs?
- What are the circumstances under which the agency has a relationship with these partners? What kind of relationship does the agency have with the partner?
- When and under what circumstances does the agency change the nature of the partnership? Under what circumstances does the agency terminate the partnership?
- Does the agency have a reputation of being a difficult partner? Is the agency known to be one that others do not want to work with or pressures others to get what it wants?
- Are the partners competing over minimal resources?
- Does the agency have a tendency to not operate under business practices? Is the agency mandated to form partnerships with unwilling partners?
- re a power differential between partners?
- Is there a healthy vs. unhealthy tension?