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Putting substance behind the hype: workshops for people who need business partnerships that really work

Strategic Partnerships: Making Them Work


Learning Objectives


In-house Workshops

UCSC Seminar




Strategic partnerships: do yours really work, or is it just a pretty concept? Routine business arrangements today usually involve complicated relationships among multiple companies. Making these relationships work effectively is much easier said than done. This workshop provides a proven method for designing partnerships and making them work.

This practical workshop is especially designed for teams and individuals who are responsible for making partnerships work on a daily basis, i.e., turning the hopes represented by an agreement into reality.  We will use presentation, discussion, and exercises to explore how a company and its partners can achieve significant financial advantage by:

  • Explicitly designing their relationships,

  • Basing it on mutually beneficial, measurable objectives, and

  • Creating and using defined procedures for working with each other.

Participant materials include worksheets and templates as well as presentation notes.  

You will begin analyzing a business relationship you currently are working with, so will leave the workshop with hands-on experience using the methods taught and with progress made on establishing or improving your relationship.

You will:

Learn to identify different types of relationships and how to use that information to design a particular relationship,

Know how to define the important characteristics of a particular relationship, including success metrics,

Understand the role business processes play in successful relationships,

Learn how to draw and use an organizational relationship map,

Understand and practice using the Strategic Partnerships methods on a real-life business relationship,

Create a relationship design worksheet for your own partnership.

 Workshop Outline

I.  Getting Started.

We’ll start by explaining what relationship design is and why you should care.

II.  Designing Relationships.

The first step in designing a relationship is to identify the attributes that characterize a relationship.  You’ll learn about the relationship continuum, how to use it to help establish realistic expectations for a given relationship. You will start designing a relationship of your own using the Relationship Definition Worksheet.

III.  Success Criteria.

Using the right success criteria is a key step in designing successful relationships. Success criteria help you determine unambiguously if a relationship is achieving its purpose, keep you focused on what is important in a relationship, and help you decide what to do if the relationship is not meeting its objectives. You’ll learn what success criteria are, how to write them, and how to use them.

IV.  Relationship Management.

The relationship worksheet tells you what the relationship is to accomplish. This section of the workshop deals with all the decisions around how you are going to get there and keep the relationship healthy on an ongoing basis.

V.  Business Processes.

Business processes are how two (or more) companies work together to achieve the purpose of the relationship. In this section of the workshop, we move beyond managing the relationship to doing the work of the relationship. We’ll look at organizational relationship maps as a tool to help you move from what you want as defined in the Relationship Design to what you have to do to achieve it.

In-house Workshops

Strategic Partnerships: Making Them Work is available as  an in-house workshop or seminar, customized to meet the needs of your team.  

Ideally the team, including members of all partners, attends the workshop as a group. The participants are able to start applying the techniques they are learning in the structured environment of the workshop.  They get the benefit of using the tools and techniques immediately, plus they get coaching and direct feedback as they start designing the partnership.

Call me at 408-929-3622 or email me to discuss how we can make Strategic Partnerships work for you.


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Jeanne Sawyer, Ph.D.