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Collaboration: The Identification Phase


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YTKO business analyst and advisor Chloë Teale explains the process of selecting collaborative partners for your business.

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Collaboration: The Identification Phase

  1. 1. Collaboration: YTKO business analyst and advisor Chloë Teale explains the process of selecting The Identification Phase collaborative partners for your business Matchmaking • Operational – Can each partner and the partnership as a whole carry out a Last month we discussed the importance project in an efficient, effective way? of the decision and planning stages at the Are the internal business processes of outset of any proposed partnership. If each partner compatible? collaboration is an integral part of your long- term business objectives and your company • Cultural – Although the partners do not is open to change, then the next stage is to need to have similar cultures there does identify potential partners and outline how need to be compatibility in the areas of man- this partnership will work in practical terms. agement behaviour, trust, communication systems, openness and attitude to risk. While there is unfortunately no standard- ised method of identifying a potential partner, Once you have identified a number of there are some simple guidelines you can potential partners, you should undergo a follow, once you have established what you thorough selection process based on your want to achieve from a joint venture. A part- requirements. You need to be ruthless in ner may come from your own network of weeding out unsuitable collaborators as relationships or they could be an organisation early as possible – one of the most common you have never met before. However, if you reasons for failure is when organisations are new to collaboration, you should ideally which are too similar collaborate because start collaborating with an of their general organisation you already have “A partner may come familiarity with one a relationship with, whether another. Collabora- through business, through from your own network tion often works networking or socially. of relationships or best in the opposite scenario – the more Other areas to explore they could be an different the part- include regional or national industrial development organisation you have likely their compe- ners are, the more agencies which should know never met before” tencies will comple- of companies within your ment one another. sector and be able to recommend potential candidates to you. It is also worthwhile join- Finding potential collaborators is not ing business and sector networks, not only a trivial problem and can often be viewed to make invaluable contacts of your own, but with great apprehension; sometimes it Tel: 01872 613000 also to get to know local business leaders. can even be the reason why an organisa- Web: tion will simply give up on the whole idea. Another option is to use an external There will always be a certain amount agent to search for potential partners and of risk attached to approaching another facilitate that crucial first meeting. This organisation that is, or could possibly step is most useful if you are trying to find become, a competitor. But if you have a partners outside your own region or sector. complete picture of all the potential risks, Contacting the business support com- you should be able to adequately prepare munity is another way of finding potential your business for any outcome. A question partners, making use of their knowledge. often overlooked when considering this. In addition to finding a partner able Risk can arise just as much from inac- to fulfil what you want to achieve from a tion as from a disaster coming to pass, so collaborative project, you will also need to it is important you ensure that you carry take into account the ongoing synergies out sufficient groundwork during the ini- across a number of areas, for example: tial stages to mitigate this and understand where potential risk may lie. • Strategic – Does each organisation have clear aims and objectives? Do But once you have established your they know their competencies and partnership and all parties are efficiently deficiencies? Is it clear what each will working together towards a common goal contribute to the partnership? – the rewards can be huge. Business Cornwall Magazine - February 2010 Business Clinic 17