To clarify each partner’s self-interest so that
everyone stays “in the game” with their self-interest satisfied, even as you
engage your mutual interest in making a change.
What’s the Result?
By unearthing, clarifying and making space for the
self-interest of your partner and your partner’s organization, you will have
incorporated another key foundational building block to ensure collaborative
success. After completing this exercise,
you and your partner will have a clearer understanding of each other’s self-interest,
giving you a guide to what needs to be incorporated into the operations and
work of your partnership in order to satisfy all partners. Better understanding
and acceptance of partner self-interest will also help to solidify and
strengthen your mutual interest. Acknowledging the “intersection” of these two
powerful things will create a stronger and more sustainable pathway for your
Materials: Pen and paper
Time: 45 Minutes
Part I: Inventorying Self-Interest
Use the “self-interest” inventory sheet below to
record the self-interest of the key stakeholders who matter for your
partnership’s success. That includes you!
Checking in With Your Stakeholders
- Schedule meetings with
the key stakeholders in your organization. See
Error! Reference source not found. for support in identifying
your stakeholders. Use the “inventory” sheet
to record their self-interest.
- Make sure you set up
these conversations for success with as much information as you can. Be clear upfront about the partnership’s
purpose; specifics (who you’re working with, your target populations,
- Try to “hear” where
there may be personal as well as organizational self-interests. Does your executive director want more
exposure for the organization as a result of being in the partnership? Does your partner need to meet contractual
2. Check-in with Yourself
- Just as with others,
make time to think through your own personal and organizational self-interest
in the partnership work. Do you need to
be recognized in your organization in a different way? Will something important change for you if
you take on this work? The more honest
you can be, the better.
- Think through how you
could address both your own and others’ self-interests. Make some notes and sum-up actionable items
to bring to your partner.
Step 3: Bringing
it Back to Your Partner
- Share what you’ve learned and the possible strategies
you might use.
- Take this time to re-visit your purpose with a quick
- Put your self-interest out on the table
- Remember what you need, what your organization needs
- Look at your vision
- Map out the “intersections” – the corners where your roads meet
and/or you can see your roads crossing and overlapping, even while you hold
your self-interest. This is your mutual
interest. Talk about it.
- Make a plan for satisfying everyone’s self-interest to the best of
your ability while you pursue your mutual interest and purpose. Include commitments, permissions, and
Type of Stakeholder
e.g. ED, Parent
Name of Stakeholder
Possible Action Items
to get to mutual interest