One Key to Success is a Trusting Partnership

One Key to Success is a Trusting Partnership

A blog inspired by Kroeger, S., Beirne, J., and Kraus., T. (2015). You make the road by walking: A case study of partnership and collaboration. Action Research. 13(4), 354–37.

PhD students often seek to become change agents, yet change is easier conducted in partnership with others. Building good partnerships with organizations enhances the success for all stakeholders and creates trusting connections between people and organizations. This is essential when working with non-profit and non-governmental organizations. For example, my nonprofit organization, Global Aid Consultants, performs at its best with partners that have similar goals. Co-construction of knowledge begins when stakeholders work together to achieve similar goals. This is important when working to solve complex problems in communities around the world. In a recent project involving a remote school in Belize, I was able to connect Global Aid Consultants with a Mennonite community who specialized in woodworking. They were able to build school desks for the school and now 100 more children can attend school with better conditions, contributing to hope for a more prosperous future for the kids.

Organizational leaders and PhD students who value the importance of building partnerships should read the article, You Make the Road by Walking: A Case Study of Partnership and Collaboration, by Kroeger, Beirne, and Kraus (2015). The authors state that, “partnership development is defined by essential qualities such as a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered into by two or more organizations to achieve results they are more likely to achieve together than alone.” This resonated with me, because I have seen first-hand how effective an organization can be with partners. For example, in Belize we partnered with U.S. government agencies to build the same school that received the desks in a remote area. The partnership was successful because both organizations had a common goal of increasing children’s education and provided specific capabilities that they alone did not possess.

Like organizations, PhD students are much more effective if they establish trusting relationships. Creating trust is key to good collaboration and encourages voices to be heard. In the spirit of inquiry, as we at Global Aid consultants still grapple with these issues, I conclude by asking: “How do you decide what partnerships to make?”; and, “How do you know when you are in a trusting partnership?” As the article implies, we will develop better answers to these questions as we make the road by walking in partnership with others.

Todd Speer
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