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Developing excellence in Business Partnering

Never before has collaboration been so critical to success. As the business environment becomes increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) the demand on leaders to partner effectively has never been more critical.

Partnerships and collaborations are required between functional and commercial leaders; between different lines and business and, between different business delivering different components of service or supply chain to the customer.

All too often a mismatch of expectation exists between functional and business leaders and between silos within businesses about the efficacy of business partnering. An absence of confidence, collaboration and partnering capability leads to competitive behaviours, win-lose dynamics and loss of trust. Functional leaders are excluded from a seat at the table and important parts of a business or supply chain are denied access to customers for fear they will be insufficient. These dynamics slow progression and damage businesses and business leaders.

Commercial research undertaken by GFB, consultants in leadership behaviour has identified a hunger from leaders for targeted development in this area. Two key elements were described as key to improving collaboration and business partnering:

  • A strategic approach to relationships working on and in 'the business partner' relationship

  • Commercial curiosity and strategic thinking

In response to the research findings GFB, in collaboration with the clients involved in the research have designed an innovative partnering programme which challenges current thinking and practice on business partnering and collaboration. The programme focusses on developing the skills and behaviours of how to build strong relationships with key stakeholders, and how to contribute to and collaborate with key stakeholders.

Leaders will develop the behaviours of how to build trust, how to influence, how to challenge by taking different approaches with different people and in different situations; how to develop strategic thinking to add real leadership in the board room. By developing these high level behaviours the emphasis of the programme is on not just What to do, but How to do it.

The programme is unique in its focus 'on and in the partnership relationship' and on collaboration behaviours with the result that leaders are supported to develop a different mindset and approach to collaboration and business partnership.

The programme is modular to allow participants to apply insights and learning to existing partnering relationships. There are 2 x 2-day modules, separated by 6-8 weeks, during which a day of work-shadowing, live observation, feedback and coaching takes place 1-to-1 with one of the facilitators.

The programme has three development aims: to shift belief and mindset, to develop knowledge and to practice the skills and behaviours with live feedback.

Input sessions are highly participative and group-led, and will be supported by one-to-one work-shadowing, coaching and feedback.

Live feedback is invaluable in developing behavioural skills and the Workshadow Workout enables delegates to be observed in real time and their partnering environment to gain feedback on how they partner.

The future success of organisations lies not just in how we are able to forecast, predict and plan for the (VUCA) future but in how skilled our leaders are at being able to collaborate and partner with each other to take on the fast changing global environment.

Programme Overview

A journey, not an event

This programme has three development aims: 1/ Shift belief and mindset, 2/ Develop knowledge and 3/ Practise skills and behaviours. Input sessions are highly participative and group-led, and will be supported by one-to-one work-shadowing, coaching and feedback. The programme will be modular to allow for application and reflection between input sessions, and typically takes place over a three month period.

Follow on: Transfer best practise and adopt 'running partners'

GFB's approach to collaborative partners has been designed to help individuals move to a strategic collaborative role context in which they operate.

Contact us to discuss your requirements:

GFB are thought leaders in collaborative partner development. We have firmly established and seen real return from a focus on collaborative partnering and seen clear and measurable results in the business partners we work with. If you would be interested in discussing a bespoke approach to your business challenges please get in touch​.

A pyramid diagram showing the 4 levels of business partnership model.
A flow diagram running from left to right showing a representation of the business partnering program stages

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  • Online employee engagement surveys

  • Survey design

  • Online ability assessments

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  • Project support

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  • Online results and reporting

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