Opening Mindsets for Partnership

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In our last blog, we introduced the mindsets for partnership and innovation.

Mindsets do not have to be fixed.  Starting with the disciplines of self-awareness, awareness of others and self-regulation, one can begin to develop a mastery of the mindsets essential for partnership.  Mindsets are built from, and closely intertwined with, personal mental models that help us make sense of the world and guide the way we see ourselves, others and our work.  Shifting mindsets requires us to break and remake our mental models and inform new behaviours.  

Five ways to refresh our mindsets for partnership and innovation 

Professionals working in partnerships need to re-examine their mindsets and their whole approach to partnership through a process of transformative learningDrop the barriers and defensiveness and face up to our existing mindsets and assumptions.  Only then can we unlearn what we think we know and come to realise that our current beliefs and actions cant always be relied upon. Use these five tools to renew mindsets for partnership and innovation: 

1. Actively seek the views of outsiders to help identify new assumptions to establish the new mindsets, e.g. using stakeholder interviews or conversations. 

2. Ask different questions, e.g. what can we help you with, to develop and model behaviours that support each new partnership mindset and signal the change to others. 

3. Use news tools and systems to reinforce new mindsets and normalise them in a partnership, e.g. partnership temperature check, visioning. 

4. Incentivise doing things differently, e.g. reward participationcelebrate human-centred design and recognise mistakes 

5. Remember, pushing too hard for change can increase resistance, e.g. questioning shared value.  So, loosen the barriers to change while focusing on desired mindsets, monitoring partnership KPIs, not just the deliverables.   

Partnership professionals have a job to do, but they can’t do it alone.  It takes a team.  There is an urgent need to professionalise partnerships mindsets and skills for all those delivering in partnership.  Organisations need to invest in the training, systems and support, as partnership is core to transformational change. 

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 Jane Thurlow and Rachael Clay