Creating any form of partnership between two different organizations is a notable feat. It is important and deserves recognition. Yet, we don’t want to form just any partnership. We want a strong connection – a lovefest. But how is this achieved? It certainly isn’t accidental.
“Business and Education Partnerships – Creating A Lovefest” was the topic explored at our June 13th Good Advice Over Coffee (GAOC) gathering. A lively group of cause champions shared their wit and wisdom about partnership experiences, equipping all of us with new insights and ideas.
To kickstart the discussion, we shared essential elements of successful business and education partnerships. While we teach six main elements of successful partnerships, we focused on three for this discussion. These elements are applicable to any form of partnership. They are:
Meld two very different systems to establish a collaborative win-win. Find out what is desired by BOTH business and education. Identify this common ground. Establish shared goals to cement strong relationships and unify the effort.
Start in your own backyard. Based on commute distances to and from jobs, even though we’re in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, our “backyard” can be the entire DFW Metroplex/North Texas area, a 16-county region of more than 7.5 million people. Or, it could be schools and businesses very near one another or sharing a special focus who discover “common ground” to forge a strong partnership. A great way for education and businesses to work together is urgently needed right now, because demand is high for jobs not requiring four-year college degrees but needing specialized post-secondary certifications and licensures. That preparation must begin in the Pre-K-12 education system.
Sustain via stamina and some glue to hold it all together. Starting, growing and maintaining a partnership requires strong community champions, organizational leadership, and professional management to keep it going.
Just as the principles for successful partnerships are nearly universal, so too are the challenges. GAOC participants shared their own experiences with partnerships, including:
Importance of relationships.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Be diversified – stakeholders may not even realize they need to be included, so ask them.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Create common goals/shared vision.
Survey, ask open questions, and show impact.
Apply continuous improvement.
While every partnership differs, the foundational principles explored at GAOC can be universally applied to create a lovefest. We’ll continue to talk about tools, strategies and opportunities for advancing community causes every second Thursday of the month. Please join us!
Speaking of talking, below is the first released episode of Your Podcast for Good, hosted by our own Scott Smith. Here, we continue the conversation on Business and Education Partnerships and share more good advice discussed during this event. Enjoy!