The Seven Core Competencies for Partnering
By Sue Dyer
for almost two decades been a goal for many teams. Whether for a
specific project, a strategic initiative or an alliance, partnering
has proven to be a great way to expand the pie for everyone
involved. Too often the attempt falls short of the desired outcomes.
When partnering fails, many times it is because the team leaders and
team members didn’t know how to make it succeed. Seven Core
Competencies have been identified for making partnering succeed.
Competency #1: Leadership - Be a Trusted Leader: This competency
refers to the ability to effectively lead a team to the successful
completion of its objectives.
leader by definition is someone who has followers.
Following is 100% voluntary. Team members decide to follow the
leader because they TRUST that the leader will help the team to
succeed. The more trusted you are as the “leader” of your team, the
better you will be able to share a compelling vision for success.
Because they trust you, they will work to help you fulfill that
vision. Fear and trust can not coexist. As the leader, you must
drive out fear (even small pockets of fear) within your team. Fear
will always prevent you from becoming the trusted leader.
Competency #2: Negotiation - Be a Non-Adversarial Negotiator:
This competency refers to the capacity to negotiate fair,
team you are interdependent. Because of this you need the
cooperation of the others on your team in order to succeed. The old
traditional adversarial way of negotiating, where you argue
your points and there is an ultimate winner and loser, just
cannot work when you are interdependent. You either win together
or lose together - nothing else is possible. A non-adversarial
negotiator seeks fair, justifiable solutions. These are the
underpinnings of building trust within your team.
Competency #3: Conflict Management - Use Conflicts for
Constructive Change: This competency refers to the skill of
transforming conflict into a productive force for change.
us judge conflict as being “bad”. Many, many people are conflict
adverse, and as such avoid conflicts. This often allows conflicts to
go on for some time without resolution. Most conflicts help us to
see where something is not working as it needs. There is a lot of
energy in conflicts.
Competency #4: Communication – Foster a Forum for Communication:
This competency refers to the aptitude to create an atmosphere that
allows team members to openly communicate so that understanding can
team members trust each other to tell the “truth”, no matter what –
then a dialogue can take place. This is where you are willing
to listen to your teammates with an empathetic ear, really trying to
understand what they are telling you, without judgment. Then, in
turn, you are willing to tell them truthfully, from your
perspective, how you see things. Seeing the same issue from
different perspectives is when real communication has occurred.
Competency #5: Facilitation – Trust in the Collective Wisdom of Your
Team: This competency refers to the capability to facilitate
identification of the core problem/issue and to allow the team to
co-create the solution.
team faces its challenges and problems. It’s not the number or
magnitude of the problems that determines if the team succeeds or
fails. It is how the team comes together to resolve the problems
that determines success or failure. This usually takes someone
helping to facilitate conversations, a dialogue or assuring the
right people are in the right place at the right time. When a team
is focused on, and perhaps enjoying, the challenges that it faces,
it begins to tap into the collective wisdom of the team. From there
it begins to co-create great ideas and solutions.
Competency #6: Interpersonal Relations – Create Synergies: This
competency refers to the facility to understand yourself and others
so that you can build a strong, cohesive team focused on expanding
are motivated by their own self interests. Sometimes this means that
some team members are actually working against the goals of the
team. This causes entropy. Entropy can be depicted mathematically as
1+1 = -2. Entropy means that some of the resources you are putting
into your project are not moving you toward success. It is critical
to understand your team members and to get everyone focused on and
moving toward common goals. This allows for synergies to be
developed. Synergy can be depicted mathematically as 1+1 = 3.
Competency #7: Organization – Be Structured for Success: This
competency refers to the expertise to create processes, procedures
and policies that bring the right people together, in the right way,
allowing them to unleash their talents for the good of the overall
Policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities all must be in
place, understood and congruent with partnering and the goals of
your team. Misaligned policies often frustrate team members into
complacency. Poorly run meetings waste time and energy. Lack of a
clearly charted course prevents the team from knowing where it is
and what is of highest priority. The inability to set priorities and
assure they are followed through upon wastes time. A structure
should “enable” the team to achieve their objectives. It prevents
bottlenecks and allows for a coordinated effort by each team member
toward the good of the whole team.
Seven Core Competencies for Partnering can help you chart a
course for learning to consistently make partnering work for you and
your team. Seek out training, coaches and mentors who can help.
Assess where you are for each of the seven competencies. In which
are you the strongest, and can perhaps mentor others? Where are your
weaknesses? Set some goals to improve in those areas where you have
the greatest need. Building your “partnering muscles” is an effort
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