Come to the cutting edge, where Competitive and Collaborative Advantage meet

Most people it seems, would agree we’re facing some pretty big challenges in our times. What we think the challenges are – and so what we think we need to do about them – depends very much on which way around we’re looking at things.

In one camp, there stand large numbers who feel life is a ruthless competition where winners take it all, and losers deserve their fate. In the same camp, but looking the other way, are those who see themselves as part of a greater whole where our best interests are woven together. The former are on a constant war footing, taking advantage where they can, while the latter are often pushed onto their back foot because they’re playing by different rules. One strives for ‘power over'(Competitive Advantage), the other for ‘power with'(Collaborative Advantage).

For players who prefer the rules of Collaborative Advantage, it can often feel like an unequal contest. The natural urge of this group to form partnerships on common ground is strong, but the will to make things work is not enough. Things can (and do) all too easily go wrong. The truth of course, is that both ‘sides’ are in the same camp, and we all have experiences of harnessing both perspectives in our lives – so the question (for me at least) is not, ‘how do we level the playing field?’ but ‘how well do we understand the game?’

I’ve been involved in partnership working for 24 years, constantly seeking to learn from those who seem to have the best grasp of the game. That’s enough time for 7 PhDs, so I reckoned by now, I surely must have something worthwhile to share.

The result is a day’s workshop on How to make partnerships work really well, which I’m offering on 8th April in Oxford as part of the utterly brilliant 2019 Campaigning Forum.

The session is relevant to all kinds of partnership work – within teams, between departments, in coalitions/alliances or for commercial purposes – the ideas and skills will all still apply. 

I’ve done some testing, and am confident the workshop brings genuinely fresh perspective which can take our thinking into new partnership dimensions. So much so, I’m prepared to bet it will work just as well for people who are old hands at partnership work (maybe looking for a ‘next level’) as it will for those dealing with partnership problems, or those who are thinking about their first partnership steps.

Come to the cutting edge with me and let’s see what we can do to overcome the social, economic and environmental problems of the world. Together is the only way we can.