There are two organizations who already have been in many forms of collaborations and partnerships together. The organizations know each other well, and some of the people even have been direct colleagues in the past. They have many close ties that should enable a smooth collaboration.

However, as the relationship developed, the two partners have started assuming that the other knows what they are doing. On one hand, they say things like “we don’t have to explain, everybody in our industry understands that” and at the same time they wonder out loud “why are they doing that, what are they hiding, what is their hidden agenda?”. The collaboration is not running that smooth at all anymore.

What went wrong?

In the beginning, a word to the wise was enough. Communication was done ad-hoc and as long as everybody was full of energy and enthusiasm about the initial projects, it worked fine. Although ad-hoc, communication was done frequently. This high energy mode in the beginning led them to neglect the setup of a proper cadence of governance. Now the first crush was over and a certain relationship fatigue started to creep in: they needed a governance structure more than ever before.

This is the moment the dangers of the unspoken words come to a partnership. It is the moment you start to assume and you don’t say the things that need to be said. Communication becomes tensed, transparency is gone and the partnership is at risk.  

How about your partnerships, is it time to revisit your communication structure and your governance structure?