A partnership broker is an active ‘go-between’ who supports partners in navigating their collaboration journey by helping them to create a map, plan their route, choose their mode of transport and change direction when necessary. They can both ‘serve’ and ‘lead’ as the situation requires and as needs of the partnership change over time.
The term ‘partnership broker’ is increasingly used across the globe but, if problematic, there are a number of alternative terms that work just as well – these include: process manager, change maker, intermediary, bridge-builder, animator or connector. They can be either ‘internal’ (from within one of the partner organisations) or ‘external’ (independent specialists called in to undertake specific tasks) – What is a partnership broker?
Partnership brokers focus on building and strengthening a partnership / consortium / coalition / alliance over time throughout its life cycle, to ensure it delivers highly impactful programmes of work as well as significant wider value to those involved and wider society.
Skilled brokering can make all the difference to the effectiveness of complex networks, non-traditional alliances and consortia as well as partnerships. The roles and tasks undertaken by a partnership broker change and evolve during the different phases see presentation: Partnership Brokering roles and tasks
As an emerging profession, it is critically important that those appointed to the role are selected carefully and managed well, we have created guidelines to assist in the appointment, management and performance review process – Appointing a Partnership Broker.
Partnership brokers are encouraged to be reflective in their approach to the role. This means understanding what skills are required and how to build on their areas of expertise and experience Being a Partnership Broker: Tools for self-assessment and reflection
Accredited partnership brokers are those that have completed the 4-day Partnership Brokers Training as well as having undertaken formal Accreditation (requiring a period of 3.5 months of mentored professional practice and an examination of a logbook and final paper). Those that have achieved accreditation are entitled to use this logo:
“I have learned a lot about leadership and brokering during this mentoring process. I have been required sometimes to push far ahead of the partners in exploring and creating opportunities that they cannot see as individuals or as organisations. This has involved quite a lot of personal risk in that I needed to be visibly seeking, questioning and making mistakes. It feels as if, more than anything else, I have needed courage”
Extract from a partnership broker’s logbook
Accredited partnership brokers commit to operating ethically and professionally by signing up to the Partnership Brokering Good Practice Principles
More on partnership brokers in action:
What do Partnership Brokers Do? A study of 250 logbooks compiled by those operating as partnership brokers in a range of organisations, sectors and contexts.