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The Cost of Partnership

The Cost of Partnership

We choose to work in partnership not because it is easier but because it is better. It is commendable that we focus most of our energies on the positive, beneficial aspects of partnerships. It is precisely these things that make it worth the effort. Yet, ignorance or avoidance of considerations of cost and pain can undermine our ability to achieve those positive and beneficial aspects. Partnerships are harmed or even defeated by our failure to anticipate understand and prepare ourselves to cover the costs and pains of working together. What are some of the costs of working together?


1. Time – the moment you choose wot work in co-operation with another, you must make time to communicate with the other. And you need to meet as often as needed to bring about effective cooperation.
2. Money – Meetings often involve expenses. This extent of the costs depends on the physical distance between partners, the number of people, the need to travel, and the facilities needed for the meeting.


1. Increased of re-adjusted workload. Partnership affairs bring their own work with them, which must be added to the organisation’s combined work load; or , it requires re-arrangement of organizational and staff priorities to accommodate the new tasks.
2. Budget adjustments to support workload and priority adjustments.
3. Time and effort to build consensus among officers and board members.
4. Disruption of existing organizational planning by the needs of the partnership.


1. Limitations on my ability to do what seems right to me in the way I feel comfortable with. I must remember that I have partners now, and that they must be consulted on certain things before I proceed.
2. Frustration- Inability to have immediate access to my partner means I must delay decisions that otherwise could be made in-house.
3. Frustration when my partner fails to see what seems obvious to me and I am not being able to make it clear to him/her.
4. Anxiety of being in the middle of two sides of misunderstandings: Our partners and our organizational colleagues and superiors.
5. Stress of delays in fulfilling the organisation’s mission in order to work together with our partner.

These are only some of the costs involved in partnerships. Partnerships that involve participants from different cultures can add to that cost, especially at the emotional level, because the likelihood of misunderstandings and their effects is much greater when two or more cultures are represented.

The Importance of being aware of costs

When we come together to discuss and commit ourselves to partnership, we focus on the benefits. In fact those of us how believe partnerships are a good thing will want to emphasize what is good, lest our potential partners become unduly discouraged and reject the opportunity. What often derails a partnership, however, are the unexpected costs, those problems that come ip after we committed ourselves and catch us by surprise.

I believe it is essential for the health of a partnership that the actual and potential costs be identified early in the process. Some can actually be avoided. Others may not be avoided but our mutual acknowledgment of them will minimize misunderstandings when they occur and make it easier to correct.