In clear, forceful prose illustrated by occasional tidy charts and tables, Schmida uses revealing case histories, such as seafood company Thai Union’s partnerships with the Migrant Workers Rights Network and Greenpeace, to illustrate the challenges of communicating and collaborating across sectors. He provides models of common types of partnerships, a roster of essential roles, frameworks for establishing common goals and sharing risks and rewards, and criteria for the measuring of results. His practical guidelines are especially thorough, covering seeking out, securing, implementing, scaling, and sustaining potential partnerships as well as getting partners across what he calls “The Partnership Valley of Death” and into a committed formal agreement.
The author is attentive to the nuances of cross-sector collaboration, especially the management of expectations when residents of the corporate world find themselves attempting to communicate with those in the public or nonprofit sectors. (“Be willing to meet to get a meeting,” he suggests.) Schmida lays out straightforward, actionable steps to identify potential opportunities and avoid key hazards. Unlike many business books, this one isn’t selling a method, a service, or other products; it is simply a thorough and practical work that knows its audience very well. This valuable guide is both a spirited entreaty and practical road map for powerful collaborations between businesses and mission-driven organizations.
Takeaway: This highly practical guide will light the way for business owners and corporate executives seeking cross-sector partnerships.
Great for fans of David Gage’s The Partnership Charter, Simon Sinek’s Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
A business consultant touts cross-sector partnerships as the best way to meet major challenges.
In the Introduction to this intriguing debut book, the author relates the story of the unexpected symbiotic relationship between global food conglomerate PepsiCo and a poor farmer in India whom the company depended on to supply potatoes. As Schmida writes, “We can start to see why increasing productivity and the incomes of farmers in thecompany’s supply chains is important to PepsiCo.” This dramatic example sets the tone for a work that explores whypartnerships are vital to attempting to solve the world’s “wicked problems,” which have “economic, social, andenvironmental dimensions that interact with one another in ways that are ever-changing and unpredictable.” The volumefirst describes the nature of cross-sector partnerships, how they work, and their importance. It then delves very thoroughly into the nuts and bolts of building and managing such alliances. One of the more compelling aspects of the book is the way the author integrates stories into the realm of global partnerships. Virtually every chapter begins with a captivating anecdote, each from a different part of the world, that illustrates and supports the content of that section. This technique is effective because cross-sector partnerships are by their very nature intricate. For example, a project to introduce “affordable broadband internet to rural communities” in Sri Lanka is a springboard for exploring a partnership frameworkcalled LABS (Learn, Align, Build, Scale/Sustain). In describing the Sri Lanka project, Schmida is able to fully explain the individual components of LABS, relate them directly to the project’s phases, and demonstrate the practical application ofa conceptual framework.
Throughout the engaging text, the author continues to utilize a well-honed, case study approach—setting up a difficulty, discussing its complexity, showing why the problem could not be solved without the help of partners, and looking at the collaborators. Schmida does a superb job of covering all aspects of partnerships: examining types, identifying high-potential ones, forging and managing a collaboration (including a seven-step process), securing commitments, effectively structuring an alliance, negotiating, and writing agreements. He also deftly addresses how to get things done with partners, citing and dissecting “the six attributes of successful partnership implementation” as well as how to track andmeasure results of the collaborative efforts. Not surprisingly, partnerships often tackle projects that begin with a pilot andgrow exponentially. A chapter entitled “Moving Up or Moving On” discusses conditions surrounding the scaling ofprojects as well as sustaining a partnership’s results and, if need be, responsibly ending an alliance. In a concludingchapter, Schmida offers his expert counsel on the personal qualities required of individuals who want to excel at building and managing partnerships. In addition, he clearly portrays the specific roles individuals need to play in a partnership: networker, champion, project overseer, organizational sage, relationship manager, and, if benefactor agencies are involved, donor navigator.
Authoritative, all-encompassing, and richly detailed; a highly valuable partnership playbook. (charts, appendices)