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Partnership & collaboration: What success looks and feels like

This Tables Stake requires you to probe everything you currently do or might do by asking, “Must we do this ourselves? Or, in how many ways might it be wiser to have others do this for us or partner to do this together?”

This is an excerpt from “Table Stakes: A Manual for Getting in the Game of News,” published Nov. 14, 2017. Read more excerpts here.

This Tables Stake requires you and your colleagues to probe every single aspect of work – every thing your enterprise currently does or might do – by asking, “Must we do this ourselves? Or, in how many ways might it be wiser to have others do this for us or partner to do this together?”

Success looks like the ‘to’ side of the following from/to statements that demand a range of from/to shifts.

FROM > TO shifts for partnering

  From To
Mindset and habits Make vs. buy vs. partner choices happen randomly, if at all in our enterprise We routinely consider make/buy/partner choices
  We rarely think about partnering with others as an option We always consider buy/partner as options
  When we get together with peer enterprises, we limit our discussions to sharing best practices We actively seek opportunities to partner with peer enterprises
  We do not set objectives and goals to be achieved through buying/partnering We have annual as well as strategic goals for partnering
  We limit make/buy choices to cost concerns We consider buy/partner as key alternatives for achieving specific capacity, capability, speed, risk, revenue and cost objectives
  We have a narrow set of arenas or kinds of work (e.g. only for content and technology) where we consider buy/partner choices We subject every aspect of work to make/buy/partner choices
  Our front line teams lack authority to choose to buy/partner as options Teams and leaders from top to bottom of our enterprise have well-defined authority for when they can choose to buy or partner
Partnering discipline, practice and authority We have no framework for choosing among make/buy/partner options We have a widely understood and used framework for make/buy/partner choices
  We lack criteria for choosing among make/buy/partner We have established and shared criteria for make/buy/partner choices that we use, learn from and adjust
  We neither have an executive in charge of partnering nor a senior partnering team/committee We have elevated the strategic importance of partnering by designating a senior executive to oversee partnering and/or a partnering team/committee
  We only randomly or episodically set objectives to be achieved through buy/partner options Our strategic plans as well as annual plans include specific SMART outcome goals that we will achieve through buy/partner options
  While we may have service level agreements with key vendors, they typically spell out the work to get done but not the specific SMART outcome based goals to be accomplished Our service level agreements with vendors spell out every element of how we’ll work together, toward what purposes and what success looks like in terms of SMART outcome based goals
  To the extent that we partner with other enterprises, we typically do so based on handshakes and/or loosely agreed upon terms We always have detailed, purpose and performance-driven memoranda of understanding with our partners
Number and purposes of shared arrangements We don’t partner with other enterprises in ways that require their content/edit/tech/business folks to work together with our content/edit/business folks We have partnerships that span content/edit/tech/business
  We rarely if ever have partnering arrangements at the desk or other front line team level Our desks and other front line teams actively make buy/partner choices as key parts of getting their work done
  We have no strategy for building a network of local services (such as Belo/Dallas’ ecosystem) that offer customers multifaceted ways to do business with that network We use partnering to build and sustain a local service network that benefits from cross-selling and cross-delivery of products and services