Often one of the biggest challenges with partnering is fear. Fear that there is not enough to go around. Scarcity. It’s rarely out front, scarcity like to hide away depend within us. But it shows up in how we partner. When it has been replaced with abundance, we seek to help our partner thrive, promote them before ourselves, and so on.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons local partnering is so difficult for humanitarian organisations. We fear our partners will steal ‘our’ glory, take ‘our’ resources, and so on. Perhaps one of the roots of scarcity is our inability or unwillingness to define ‘enough’ and instead we compare with others. And there is always someone with more, something fancier, something different. And thereby competition and comparison feed our scarcity mindset.
The fear of scarcity drives us to wanting to control more and more. We create policies and hide behind donor policies and so on. Shifting to abundance and helping others thrive is hard work. Lots of small steps, but the steps need to be practical and tangible. Here’s a few ideas:
- If your potential partner lacks a policy, give them a copy of yours in Word. And help them use the ‘find and replace’ function substituting their organisation’s name for yours.
- If you require some expensive financial software, consider buying them a copy.
- When you have a chance to talk about the project, talk about the good things they are doing. Let them speak about you.
- And above all, listen to them. Consider that they may not want the same things you do. Accept that. Don’t force them to become a version of your organisation.
There is more than enough to go around. And there will always be another organisation with more than what we have. Perhaps today is the day to accept that.