Every partnership must eventually consider issues of transition and ending. Some partnerships may use this time to renew goals and commitments. Others may find that it’s time to let certain organizational partners go or end the partnership altogether. Have an open and honest discussion with your partners to understand when the partnership is transitioning into a stage of renewal or ending.
Every partnership relationship is unique. What motivates one organization or individual to continue working collaboratively might be very different from what motivates another. In some instances, one organization may want to leave the partnership. In this case, you can discuss what would need to change to hold everyone’s interests. Perhaps the disinterest is an early warning sign that others are feeling the same way. In other situations it may be in the best interests of both the partner and the partnership as a whole to allow the organization to leave on appropriate terms. Ultimately, partnerships are effective only when all members see a value in continuing their participation and can willingly work together to achieve the common purpose.
Although partnerships need closure, this step is often missed. Too often partnerships end with a hard stop without substantial communication between members. Or they might terminate without a real ending, gradually dwindling down without formally closing out. Make sure to discuss, plan for, and openly acknowledge the departure of a member organization or the formal ending of your partnership.