The Inova Group Strategic Planning & Partnering Facilitation

By: Inova Group  06-Dec-2011
Keywords: Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning

The Inova Group has assisted executive teams by facilitating ongoing strategic planning sessions, using company specific strategic planning models and processes or providing our own models and processes, tailored to the organisation.

Questions to be asked

  • Adaptive or rational strategy development?
  • Cultural change or structural change?
  • Continuous improvement or radical transformation?
  • Empowerment or leadership and command?
  • Economic or social goals?

The models and processes we use

  • Transformational Change
  • Seven 'S' scan
  • Essential steps for transformational change
  • Creating 'Agile' Organisations
  • Eight core characteristics of 'agile organisations'
  • Real Time Strategic Change
  • Workshops involving the whole organisation (i.e. groups of 300 plus at a time)

Partnering Facilitation

Partnering is a commitment between two or more organisations for the purpose of achieving specific business objectives by the maximising of the effectiveness of cooperation. 

Even in good circumstances business relationships can be low level transaction based and contractual. Partnering is based on the ‘Spirit of Cooperation’ and is an approach to develop a relationship of trust, open communication and team work.

Partnering develops and makes explicit the implied covenant of good faith that runs through a customer/supplier contract. It does not create a new legal relationship, shift risk or change the contract tender or other documents that establish the legal relationship.

Partnering can be applied to working with customers, suppliers or third parties at three levels: - Project Specific, Relationship Management or Strategic Partnering.

The Reasons Why Partnering Works

  • When expectations are made clear and objectives are discussed in detail, there are fewer surprises and those that come up are dealt with more proactively.
  • When people know each other and have an opportunity to relate as people, they find it easier to trust each other. They explore new opportunities together and work things out when problems arise.
  • When people agree beforehand about what they will do when problems present themselves they respond more thoughtfully to situations and act rather than react.

Potential Benefits

In terms of specific projects the benefits of partnering can be:

  • Better coordination among key players resulting in projects that come in on time and at or below cost
  • Better quality projects
  • More effective communications
  • Improved working relationships
  • Improved dispute resolution resulting in a reduced number of claims.

When you apply a partnering approach at a strategic level relationship between two organisations it can also lead to:

  • Innovative and creative business solutions
  • New ways of doing business
  • Improved business processes
  • Reduction in costs & shared savings.

Key Elements of Partnering

Shared Objectives – we create a shared vision of what we are wanting to achieve together

Value for Each Partner– each party identifies and shares the value for themselves in taking a partnering approach

Trust – we create clarity around expectations and values and commit to an ongoing relationship scorecard that builds trust.

Partnering Process

Partnering can be initiated by any party in the relationship. In most instances the party will use an outside, neutral facilitator who is knowledgeable about the process and skilled in leading the group through it. The overall aim is to develop a framework for working together in the ‘Spirit of Partnership”.

Assessment Meetings (2 hrs)

  • initial qualification on the benefit of partnering done by one party
  • meet with key contact from other party to gain support for partnering
  • secure senior executive support from both parties
  • key players agree on overall objectives, identify attendees, set dates and design partnering workshop.

Pre-Workshop Briefings (2 hrs)

  • facilitator briefs each party separately
  • attendees understand partnering philosophy, their role in the process and the workshop aims, objectives and agenda
  • pre-work distributed
  • scheduled a week prior to the workshop


  • both parties come together
  • outcomes are:-
    • a partnering charter including mutually agreed objectives and values to work by
    • an understanding of each other's business direction and roles
    • an understanding of expectations and current issues
    • opportunities identified to be explored for mutual benefit
    • communication protocols and issue resolution process
    • a joint evaluation process for the relationship
    • an agreed action plan and partnering champions.

After the Workshop

  • facilitator meets with relationship owners after the workshop to debrief outcomes and tie up any loose ends
  • continuous joint evaluation by the 'new team'
  • further workshops to review progress, update the charter and to engage new individuals and new groups.


The key investment is senior executives making the time to attend the initial workshop and then the three to six monthly reviews. Having a true ‘vertical slice’ from each organisation in dialogue is critical for the success of partnering.

The facilitator is used in the initial assessment designing the workshop agenda, coaching participants through the workshop and recording plus following up on the workshop’s outcomes.

The above process usually entails three days of consulting/facilitation time over a month depending on the scope and number of participants involved.

Keywords: Strategic Planning

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