How to pick the right partner (in education)

Partnerships are key to developing better education and labour market systems. But is any partnerships a good one? Here’s how to spot the right partner to deliver successful results. 

  • Find a partner that shares your objectives and values:  While it, sometimes, seems uneasy business, searching for the right partner should be on the front burner of anyone aspiring to achieve a constructive and fruitful lifelong relation, especially in the area of education. A successful partner is one with whom you share a wide range of values, and agree on a relatively unified vision of what you plan to do. Picking up a like-minded organisation with quite similar priorities and modus-operandi to yours represents, therefore, a critical step for a successful partnership. 

  • Find a partner that can offer complementarity and division of labour: everyone, in a partnership, should concentrate in areas where they have the bigger added value. This requires coming to a consensus on which are the priority issues, and agreeing on the common needs. 

  • Select a partner that can offer resources:  While many would think about money whenever there's a mention of resources; a partner in education can be resourceful in multiple other ways. For example, enjoying a good business acumen and having a wide network of influential contacts, all represent valuable resources that you should think about whenever you consider partnering with an organisation. 

  • Choose a partner who can ensure visibility and communication: no partnership is relevant if no one knows about it, and if no one is aware about the outcomes of the cooperation – within and outside the organisations. So don’t forget to include in your partnership agreement how you mutually engage in communication activities.  

  • Pick a partner that respects time frameworks and rules: when two different worlds meet, it’s not rare that working methods and  organisational structures vary a lot. Procedures for budget and money spending could be different, and could be aligned with different calendars. The only way to overcome this, is agreeing on common deadlines and rules, and ensure a strong mutual respect. And always remember a successful partnership is one based on openness, integrity and mutual trust.   

  • Go local.  Aspiring to go big and have your organization transnational/global is all valid and legitimate. Yet, you should not forget to investigate at the domestic level and make sure you have a strong base before you decide on expanding and going outwards. Maintaining good relations with local associations, professional syndicates, and NGOs at the grassroots level is never a bad move and will always pay off. Moreover, attending a once in a while local event, municipality meeting or being on the board of trustees of your community school or district sports center can open a myriad of unexpected doors. 

  • Find someone who is prepared for the end: not necessarily a partnership is supposed to last forever. Even though planning for the end is a critical aspect when planning a partnership to begin, it is an essential aspect. No partnership can work without a joint exit strategy, which gives clarity on  when and how an alliance will end.  

More on our campaign on networks and partnerships: here

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