Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 27, 2013

Forum: Structuring collaborative partnerships

In this world of constant change, requirements for dealing with the contradictions that arise from today’s environment should encourage leadership in the public sector to think differently when structuring collaborative partnerships.

Many in the public sector focus their energy around the maintenance side of the job. Their activities center on setting goals and monitoring results, planning and executing strategy. This approach often leads to missing or overlooking the bigger picture of cooperating with other organizations in the public sector.

During this challenging economic environment, there needs to be a transformational side of leadership. This is one that aligns strategies and resources, has a vision for growth and finds partnership linkages built around a better understanding of priorities and how they link to other organizations that will add value to the community.

The public sector area has experienced and invested in numerous studies and consulting contracts that were well publicized, exciting and very visible to the community but showed very little from a return on invested dollar perspective. One would ask why this is the case. The answer is quite simple. In addition to the maintenance side of the business, which the public sector is used to, there is very little understanding of the cultural change that is required to implement new ideas and behaviors. The transformational side requires another set of leadership requirements that would establish and communicate the vision, align strategy and resources internally and develop creative partnerships between the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The change in the Bay Area Transportation Authority’s approach to the marketplace has resulted in new partnerships with organizations like TART Trails, which collaborated on a new service called Bike-n-Ride. In the case of the BATA/TART Trail partnership, we are increasing our service level (adding new riders), enhancing our brands, encouraging a fit community and adding value from an economic development perspective as well.

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