In the corporate world the famous African proverb “If you want to go fast, go it alone. If you want to go far, go accompanied" is an unavoidable truth. The diversity and complementarity of perspectives on the same theme, problem, issue to be resolved in the construction of robust, consistent, and impactful solutions have been a differentiating factor for leaders and leading companies, motivating internal and external partners, as they also feel valued for their performance in these ecosystems where they all contribute with a common purpose. So that’s why partnership is a core value for many companies.
Leaders all around the world are shaping businesses and society to positive changes in social, economic, and environmental practices. By partnering to combine competencies, platforms, people expertise, together they are bringing fast forward social impact and innovation with greater scale and growth opportunities in every domain of our world, from health to education, from technology and services social sector, from energy to media, there are amazing ecosystems being created as we speak!
Take for example the public-private partnerships driving unprecedented global efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Economic Forum and partners have developed a set of best practices and learning journey findings that are applicable to other healthcare challenges!
Another example is Salesforce, who believes that technology can build stronger relationships for a better world, maximizing social impact, as they address in their “Force Multiplier: Action  Meets Impact” podcast” (the latest with Birgit Cameron, Co-Founder and Head of Patagonia Provisions!). The starting point are these complex problems, too large for any one person, one nonprofit, or one educational institution to try to solve on their own, as for example mental health risks for adolescents, exacerbated in the pandemic context. They call these kinds of opportunities “force multipliers”, and in these examples, activated mental health conversations partnering UNICEF’s #OnYourMind newest campaign, based on the insight that more than one in seven adolescents aged 10 to 19 years old are estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally, which must drive us all for commitment, communication, and action to promote good mental health for every child.
A third good example is the recent partnership between The Council for Inclusive Capitalism and the World Council for Sustainable Development! These two organizations are now working together on initiatives that will activate the business community on sustainability planning, a just energy transition, and measuring/disclosing human and social capital criteria. With this partnership, they’re focusing on mobilizing the global business community to put tackling inequality at the heart of the business’s agenda for sustainable growth and adopting concrete actions to implement an energy transition that is just for workers, customers, and communities.
But make no mistake, unsuccessful partnerships waste time and damage relationships which can lose money, reputation, and people. Bear in mind five main lessons learned on what it takes to build effective partnerships for impact: i) Set a common agenda, ii) Clarify the benefits and outcomes, iii) Identify both-sides skilled resources to build and activate a plan, iv) Measure and permanently share progress, and v) Communicate, communicate, communicate! Because trust, shared purpose, focus on impact, clarity of objectives and accountability are the critical enablers to create social impact and business benefits.
At the CRB&L, partnering is on our DNA, as we believe that building partnerships are crucial to creating a positive change in the world! So, as a leader, look around you, identify potential partners that can leverage your economic, social, and environmental impact, and if you want to go far, create partnerships for good!

Have a great and impactful week!

Nuno Neto
Executive in Residence
Center for Responsible Busienss & Leadership 

This Newsletter covers SDG 17.

This article refers to edition #121 of the "Have a Great and Impactful Week" Newsletter.
Subscribe here to receive the weekly newsletter