Partnership Facilitation

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Ryunosuke Satoro


Bringing together organisations that are optimised for the future so that they can maximise their shared impact makes a lot of sense, but it isn’t always easy or successful.

The Direct Impact Group brings the same rigour to facilitating partnerships as it does to optimising organisations.  We focus on working to bring the right organisations together, under the right framework to deliver maximum impact.

If you are working in an established partnership we can work with you and your partners to optimise the partnership and increase its effectiveness and impact through:

Partner Identification
Partner Identification

It’s one thing to know what you want to achieve and recognise that you will be able to do that better by working with others.  It’s an entirely different proposition finding the right partner who shares your ambitions, objectives and values.  

Leveraging our networks and knowledge of others looking to deliver social impact, the Direct Impact Group will work with you to identify partners that will be the right fit for your organisation.

If we have worked with you to optimise your organisation we will have a sound understanding of your values, objectives and internal capacity.  If we haven’t worked with you, understanding this will be crucial to matching partners.

Beyond this in-depth understanding of your organisation the process for identifying the right partners for your organisation is:

  1. Establish partnership project objectives
  2. Identify the role(s) partners will play in achieving these objectives
  3. Research potential partners and present a short list for consultation
  4. Discuss opportunity with agreed prospect partners
  5. Facilitate exploratory discussions between partners 
  6. Gain mutual agreement to develop partnership
Vision, Values and Strategy Facilitation
Vision, Values and Strategy Facilitation

As with our organisational work in this area, we will facilitate the process of developing the Vision, Values and Strategy with the parties in a partnership.  

Establishing shared vision, values and strategy ensures there is a framework in place that will guide behaviours and decisions as the project is implemented.  Recognising that the partnership will be working in a dynamic operating environment, we will assist the partners to develop truly strategic objectives that can be achieved using an agile implementation plan, but with the processes in place to ensure partners are engaged in decisions.

Having an independent person facilitate this process ensures that all voices are heard and equity is maintained between partners.  This helps establish trust and a strong working relationship for the partnership from the start.  

Programme / Project Design
Programme / Project Design

Good ideas only come to fruition when they are acted on and when that action is well coordinated.  

Designing programmes or projects for partnerships can be difficult.  Expectations and responsibilities need to be clearly communicated and efficient structures put in place to enable progress measurement and activity calibration throughout.  

Our consultants are experienced in facilitating the design of multi-stakeholder partnerships and understand what it takes to set these up for success. At the end of the facilitated design process not only will you have a clear roadmap for delivering your strategic objectives, you will also have agreed processes for decision making, change management, risk mitigation and impact measurement that will enable you to work cohesively in an agile manner.    

The Direct Impact Group can work with the partnership as a project design facilitator, implementation coach or project manager depending on your internal capacity and needs. 

Partnership Review
Partnership Review

Every partnership is established with the intention of delivering the maximum social impact possible that works for all partners.  Unfortunately, for most partnerships, this rarely eventuates and cracks appear in the relationships, processes or delivery of the project.  Sadly these issues usually impact most on the people the project was designed to serve.

The Direct Impact Group will work with partnerships to review progress, identify what is working and where challenges lie, and facilitate the process of change that builds on the positives and addresses the challenges.  This review will start by measuring progress to the intended impact in order to set a base for the review that is focused on the change wanted in the target community. 

The next stage is to get the feedback of the different partners involved in the project looking at the culture, systems, processes and relationships.  We also seek feedback from the people who are meant to be positively impacted by the work of the partnership to understand their perception.

This comprehensive, partnership wide approach enables us to identify what you need to do more of and where change will make the most difference.  Rather than broad recommendations we will provide defined actions that will increase the partnerships efficiency, improve resource management and build the culture, systems and capabilities needed to deliver into the future.

Whether you are embarking on a new phase of a partnership, implementing change, or reviewing progress mid-cycle this process will deliver partners with the context, insight and recommendations to maximise their impact.   

Strategy Implementation
Strategy Implementation

Implementation is more complex than ever in partnerships, with a range of stakeholders with varying capacity and capabilities working on an integrated work plan.    

When these partners are complex organisations working in disruptive environments this plan needs to be adaptive to change while still focused on delivering the impact intended. 

Creating agility and focus seem to work against each other in traditional implementation models, and especially in partnerships.  However, they do not need to be points of compromise or conflict if the right plan is developed.  The Direct Impact Group will work with your team to build an agile implementation plan that keeps the intended impact as the main thing.  

By building the structure and processes around an agile implementation you can be assured that the partners and their teams will be well positioned to respond to change and disruption, adapting tactics throughout the strategy cycle to mitigate new risks and take advantage of new opportunities.  

Measuring progress towards impact is important, both in terms of being sure the work being done is making the change intended and in assessing where effort needs to be increased or changes need to be made.  Again managing this across partners is challenging, however in terms of ensuring the partners work as effectively as possible together it is even more important,

Traditional evaluation processes tend to be focused on end of project assessments, where the outcomes are finalised and the impact experienced.  A more agile implementation requires understanding what the drivers of impact are, measuring these effectively and making changes as and when needed.  Measuring impact is an iterative process throughout the project and not something done at the end.  We will work with your partnership team to establish a set of measures that will provide meaningful insight into progress towards the impact you want to have. Once these are established we will develop the process to capture these measures with as little additional effort as possible, and in a way that can best inform ongoing decision making.    

Bringing all these elements together across a partnership requires dedicated resource who can work with impartiality to manage issues between partners.  The Direct Impact Group can work with your partnership team as a roadmap designer, implementation coach or project manager depending on your internal capacity and needs. 

Accountability Frameworks
Accountability Frameworks

The accountability expectations on organisations involved in a partnership are complex, and invariably involve both accountability at a partnership level and an individual organisation level. 

With our accountability framework, we provide a 360o health check, testing each organisation and the partnership with a system view and providing benchmarks and best practice from across the sector. Our accountability development plans prioritise areas of improvement and coordinate the change needed.  

While establishing current performance is important, it is meaningless if it is not measured on an ongoing basis.  The Direct Impact Group has developed a Stakeholder Perception Analysis tool that enables regular feedback from all the stakeholders to your partnerships work.  This tool is designed with one objective in mind, to give you a clear picture of how your stakeholders view the impact you are having.  Their perception is their reality and the success of your programme will depend on them believing your work is having a positive impact.