Introducing Mindsets for Effective Partnerships

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Effective partnerships are dependent upon the mindsets of the individuals that make up a partnership.  Individuals hold deeply rooted assumptions and generalisations that will influence their perceptions and behaviour.  Our behaviours aren’t fixed, however, and we can learn to apply certain mindsets and skills through a process of personal mastery to enable better partnerships1. 


Developing three personal and internal disciplines of awareness, reflection and regulation acts as a basis to master ‘partnership mindsets’: 

  • Self-awareness of your own assumptions, emotions and behaviours is fundamental.  
  • Awareness of others requires reflection.  Stepping into your partners’ shoes and looking through the lens of their core values can allow you to understand their behaviours and develop awareness. 
  • Self-regulation is about monitoring and managing one’s own thoughts and emotions.  Emotions such as stress, lack of motivation and frustration can hinder performance.  Anchoring positive emotions can help develop positive, constructive mindsets for partnership. 


Through our research, we have identified 6 mindsets for partnership.  Developing mastery of the mindsets is key to transformative partnerships. 

1. Outcome mindset 

Being outcome focused means being clear and honest about what you seek from a partnership.  Start from here for authenticity and positive working relationships. 

2. Effectiveness mindset 

Compliments an outcome mindset.  Having clearly set out your goals, you can be frank in delivering difficult information. Being sensitive, yes, but always direct, and holding the partnership to account when it’s not delivering.  

3. Solution mindset 

Very symbiotic with a reflective mindset. Practice these two together, always.  Look for the solution that you don’t already have an answer for, avoid retrofitting your solution or programme to the problem. 

4. Shared value mindset 

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes, consider why your partners are in the partnership in the first place.  Take accountability for your own goals but also for the relationship. How can you achieve more by working together and looking beyond a service-based partnership? 

5. Openness mindset 

Seek empathy and practice humility. Without this, you’ll never develop real trust or move beyond conflict and challenge. 

6. Reflective mindset 

Be open and honest, welcome feedback and provide it to others. Learn together for shared wisdom to reinvest in a bespoke partnership approach. 

The mindsets for partnership need to be mastered and held in a healthy balance.  For example, developing both an outcome mindset and an effectiveness mindset will enable you to both push towards your goalsand keep a dialogue open to manage progress and issues along the way.  Balancing a solution mindset with a reflective mindset is key to help partners to develop and iterate solutions that respond to learning and feedback as well as the needs of ultimate participants/users/clients.  Similarly developing mastery of the shared value and the openness mindset is key to understand each other’s goals and to build sufficient trust to enable them to be delivered in partnership. 

Explore more on mastery of mindsets in our model below.  

Introducing Mindsets for Effective Partnerships

Follow the series to get an ‘overview of the mindsets for partnership and innovation’ and delve deep into each mindset for more insights and tools. 

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By Rachael Clay

[1] The fifth discipline – Senge – Personal mastery, mental models, building shared vision, team learning, systems thinking