You are on page 1of 61

Draft Release

Effective Networking
and Partnerships


12 Capacity Building Tools for Youth Employment Support

Initiatives to Promote Decent Work Opportunities for Youth

Craig Young, Shane Gibson and Jamie Schnurr

Pathways to Livelihoods and Decent Work


Published with support from:

International Labour Office (ILO)
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

Networking &
12 Capacity Building Tools to Help Youth
Livelihoods and Decent Work Support Initiatives

Craig Young
Shane Gibson
Jamie Schnurr

Pathways to Youth Livelihoods and Decent Work


Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................................... 3

1.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................4

1.1 Building A Programme’s Relationship Capacity Through Effective Practice ..............4
1.2 Key Definitions ............................................................................................................. 5

2.0 Purpose and Objectives of Using this Toolkit ..................................................................6

3.0 Building on the Sustainable Livelihoods Model.............................................................15

3.1. Why is Social Capital important? ...................................................................................15

4.0 Exploring Relationships Strategically .............................................................................10

4.1. Networking as a Strategy ..........................................................................................10
4.2. Exploring the Stages of Relationships.......................................................................11
TOOL 1: Evaluating Relationships.......................................................................................14
TOOL 2: Ways to Develop Social Capital............................................................................17
TOOL 3: Idea to Action Exercise .........................................................................................18

5.0 Networking, Partnerships and Strategic Planning ........................................................19

TOOL 4: Strategic Planning Checklist ................................................................................. 21

6.0 Core Competencies in Relationships ..............................................................................24

TOOL 5: Assessing A Programme’s Core Competencies...................................................26

7.0 Where Can Potential Networks and Partnership be Found? ........................................29

TOOL 6: Exploring Sources of Relationships ......................................................................30

8.0 The ABC’s of Building Relationships ..............................................................................31

TOOL 7: Using the ABC’s to Source Potential Partners .....................................................33
TOOL 8: Targeting the Right Partner ..................................................................................37

9.0 Focusing for Value Creation.............................................................................................41

TOOL 9: Reviewing Strategies for Existing Partners ..........................................................43
TOOL 10: Strategic Focusing on Target Partners...............................................................46
TOOL 11: Putting it all Together..........................................................................................50

10.0 Partners as People.............................................................................................................51

TOOL 12:.............................................................................................................................53

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

This toolkit contains a dozen specific, integrated tools for effective practice in
building relatoinships in a strategically effective and efficient manner. It is only fitting
therfore that this comprehensive toolkit on relationship building was created as a truly
constructive collaborative effort in itself. This was truly a team effort based on an
example of a positive relationships between individuals from the public sector and
private sector coming together to contribute value to the final outcome.
A special thank you to Mr. Shane Gibson for his valuable insights, contributions
and dedication to the cause of our work. Without his contributions on behalf of his
company, Knowledge Brokers International, a South African based training and
development company with offices in Canada, this toolkit would not be as powerful and
valuable as it is.
We extend a special mention to Bill Gibson of KBI as well, as his in-depth
experience, knowledge and wisdom captured in the relationship building tools for the
private sector provided the basis and inspiration for many of the tools contained in this
workbook. Mr. Gibson has impacted millions of lives through his work, and now his work
will hopefully impact many more.
Finally, a special thank you to Mr. Takafumi Ueda, Senior Advisor of the
International Labour Office’s SEED Programme for his relentless encouragement and

Craig Young and Jamie Schnurr

January 2003

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Building A Programme’s Relationship Capacity Through Effective Practice

This workbook is designed to help youth employment and decent work support
initiatives build their capacity to build their networks and ultimately partnerships that will
in turn increase their capacity to manage challenges and opportunities in a complex
environment (ie: social, economic and political context domains). Strategic networking
and partnerships is a critical entry point for capacity building because it opens up new
pathways to access assets and resources for policy design and implementation, and for
the clients and community being served.

Pre-planning/Context Analysis
(Social/cultural, economic, policy/political environments)

Organizational Organizational
Pre-requisites Development (Leadership
& Management)

Skills and Knowledge Opportunity

(technical, experiential Development (Innovation)
human capital)

Strategic Networking
Entry point for Capacity
and Partnerships
Building and Opportunities

‘Networks’ and ‘partnerships’ are terms we use to describe the ‘involvement’,

commitment and nature of the collaborative activity within the relationship. Partnerships
are desirable because it denotes potential sustainability in the relationship if the
experience and results are positive. Potential sustainability for the programme(s)
involved in positive, productive collaborative relationships will also likely increase.

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Relationship building is both a dynamic and complex process. Yet, its purpose is
simple: enhancing opportunities and effectiveness. It provides an especially important
foundation for the UN Youth Employment Network’s (UN YEN) new approach to
developing youth employment and decent work opportunities, and its mandate to
support member countries in developing their youth employment action plans1.
Through this workbook, readers are provided with a toolkit that consists of 12
tools to focus and refine their investment of their resources in the relationship building
The tools and processes contained in this workbook make up a comprehensive
toolkit that can help support initiatives focus on relationship building at two levels: (1)
the client/young person's experience/interactions and progress in his/her dealings with
the programme, from attraction and connection to the programme to the knowledge and
skills transfer process to after care (post-programme participation) (2) relationships with
other service providers, including donors, policy makers, practitioners, trainers, mentors
and others.

1.2 Key Definitions

Before using this workbook, readers may find it helpful to review some key definitions.

• Networking: gathering of acquaintances or contacts: the building up or

maintaining of informal relationships, especially with people whose friendship
could bring advantages such as job or business opportunities
• Network: coordinated system of people or things: a large and widely distributed
group of people or things such as shops, colleges, or churches, that
communicate with one another and work together as a unit or system
• Partner: [14th century. Alteration (influenced by part) of parcener , via Anglo-
Norman, literally one who shares, from, ultimately, the Latin stem partition-
sharing (see partition).]
• Partnership: cooperative relationship between two or more people or
organizations that are involved in or share the same activity or purpose
• Collaboration: a working together: the act of working together with one or more
people in order to achieve something
• Associate: a partner in business or other undertaking - a partner in business or
other undertaking
• Contact: somebody who may be useful either professionally or socially by
providing a connection to a professional field or social circle


Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

• Relationship: connection: a significant connection or similarity between two or

more people or groups and their involvement with each other
• Programme: a micro (sometimes meso) level institution that operates one or
more support initiatives, for example .

2.0 Purpose and Objectives of this Tool

2.1 Statement of Purpose
To encourage and capacitate programmes and practitioners to build more
powerful, collaborative relationships with others to achieve a greater level of
excellence a nd results in providing investment of assets and resources for
young women and men to achieve greater opportunity for a positive, productive

2.2 Objectives
• Determine what is important for programmes in having networks and
• Understand that having networks and relationships increase problem solving
capacity to meet challenges and seize opportunities
• Learn about building a programme’s ‘opportunity network’
• Learn to identify the key people who influence your relationships and
• Understand the context of these people, in relationship to your context – and
the impact on your relationship and opportunities
• Understand that there are stages to develop a relationship with each one
• Increase the productivity effectiveness of investment in programme resources

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

3.0 Building on the Sustainable Livelihoods Model

The Livelihoods Model2 provides a unique entry point into the capacity challenges and
opportunities faced by livelihoods development programmes. Programmes are organizations of
people who have come together to collaborate to fulfill common goals and needs, and to seize
opportunities to invest in young people and themselves they would not otherwise be able to
capture. As such, programmes possess the same categories of assets as people. They also
face similar contextual challenges. The difference is that because they have come together to
collaborate, they naturally have more capacity to weather contextual shocks and stresses, and
capture opportunities than if they were not. For these reasons, it makes sense to examine the
structure of a programme’s assets and resources based on the Livelihoods Model.

The Livelihoods Model provides an asset

framework for programmes that includes core
programme assets such as time, money,
energy, ability and reputation.

Social Capital is a crucial asset for programmes because it
enhances the strength and sustainability of all other assets.
For more detailed information on the sustainable livelihoods model and framework, visit Source: DFID

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

It is helpful for a programme to explore a well-rounded, holistic view of its assets

and resources. Within its ‘expanded view’ of the assets it possesses (or has
unencumbered access to), it may find unique competencies and competitive
advantages that will contribute to its sustainability and long term effectiveness.
One of the desired outcomes of applying the livelihoods model is the creation of
deeper and more meaningful development partnerships to increase the value of
investment activity in young people. This goal of increasing social capital is therefore at
the cornerstone of this value creation activity.
Of all the five livelihood asset categories or ‘building blocks’, social capital is the
most intimately connected to Transforming Structures and Processes. These structures
and processes are components of the three main societal systems: economic, social
and political/policy. Each of these systems operates in conjunction to create the context
within which a programme operates. Therefore, they impact social capital capacity of
programmes, which in turn impacts the structures and processes of the societal
systems. In fact, it can be useful to think of social capital as a product of these
structures and processes, though this over-simplifies the relationship. Structures and
processes might themselves be products of social capital; the relationship goes two
ways and can be self reinforcing.

Social Capital is a Programme Building Block:

It maximizes value of the other types of capital and is the most powerful
in helping to manage the complexities within the context domain.

• Facilitates knowledge,
Human Capital knowledge sharing and

Social Capital • Improves efficiency, quality

and access to economic
Financial Capital • Improves access to and
management of common
Natural Capital resources
• Improves access to and

Physical Capital maintenance of shared


Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

For example:
• When people are already linked through common norms and sanctions they
may be more likely to form new organisations to pursue their interests; and
• Strong civil society groups help people to shape policies and ensure that their
interests are reflected in legislation.

3.1 Why is Social Capital important?

Mutual trust and reciprocity in relationships lower the costs of working together,
maximize opportunity as a result of working together, and increase value of the
investment in young people.
This means that social capital has a direct impact upon other types of capital:
• By improving the access to and efficiency of economic assets and resources,
social capital can help increase a programme’s access to financial resources, and more
efficient operating models (financial capital).
• Social networks facilitate innovation, the development of knowledge and
sharing of that knowledge. There is, therefore, a close relationship between social and
human capital. Further still, because social capital, like other types of capital, can also
be valued as a good in itself, it can make a particularly important contribution to
organizational culture, team building and a overall shared sense of well-being among
programme staff and clients.
• Social capital can be effective in improving the management of common
programme resources (natural capital) and access to and maintenance of shared
infrastructure (physical capital).

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

4.0 Exploring Relationships Strategically

4.1 Networking as a Strategy
Networking strategies are designed to sustain the creation and reinforcement of
a unique value contribution and investment in youth and their community. The key role
of networks and partnership building is the creation of additional social capital for a
programme’s longer term sustainability.
Effective programmes understand that there is a dynamic ‘continuum’ of
relationship building activities that can ultimately lead to opportunity if strategically
managed. In effective programmes, managing this continuum, through constant
learning, sharing and communication is a team effort. Effective programme leaders set
the pace and guide the intention behind managing this process.

Networking-Partnership Building Continuum

Networking Partnering

Build Connect Commit to
Effective Communities Assets Action
Practices: and Spirit of Focus

Contacts Colleagues
Of the Informal Formal
Partnership Communities Defined Relationships
Potential Commitment

Possibilities Clear Vision

This strategic process enables more efficient processes and assets to be

introduced to the programme’s arsenal to invest in youth people. It does so by
extending the application of its assets to relationships a programme may have and/or
develop with other individuals and organizations.

- 10 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Mastering this process involves strategically targeting the individuals,

organizations and communities the programmes seek and engage in networking and
partnerships. For programmes that have few resources (or otherwise do NOT have
unlimited resources) and where their social, human and financial assets in particular
also require capacity building, it is important to accurately and efficiently select and
choose which individuals, communities and organizations to invest in.
The following strategic elements should be addressed within a Programme’s
Networking and Partnership Building strategy:
(1) What are your programme’s core competencies (assets and resources) today
and what are its future goals and vision?
(2) What are the ‘partnering characteristics’ or criteria? (ie: the desired partner’s
assets, resources, and characteristics), and
(3) What do you know about your desired partners?
(4) Which are the processes to be addressed with a programme’s networking

4.2 Exploring the Stages of Relationships

The greatest opportunities for programmes in their networking and partnership
building activities will come form their understanding and capability to lead and manage
their relationships through the complexities of their environment. One of the most
important aspects of being able to do this is to achieve a greater understanding of the
stages of the relationship building process, and to lead and manage each stage with the
partners they have selected to engage in a relationship. It is important for both parties in
the relationships to recognize the stage they are at:
(a) to manage expectations
(b) to align and invest the appropriate resources, and
(c) to have a clearer picture of where the relationship is and can go.
The following provides a brief overview of the different stages. What is key to
recognize and understand is that challenge, conflict and missed opportunity most often
result from the two parties leaping from the attraction stage to the commitment and
even unity stages without having completed the natural steps of exploring and

- 11 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

developing the relationship further. This kind of activity often creates unrealistic
expectations on both sides, and can contribute to an unproductive use of resources.
The stages of relationships are summarized below,
and presented in the diagram on the next page:

Stage 1: Attraction Stage:

Pro-Active, Strategic Networking

Stage 2: Exploration Stage

Explore each other

Stage 3: Development Stage

Trust Begins and Social Distance Reduced
Mutual Understanding increases
Individuals in both organization develop relationships

Stage 4: Commitment Stage

Commitment and Trust
Long term planning
Staff & mgmt of both organizations begin to form their own partnerships
through ‘cross talk’ and cooperative planning and problem solving (WIN / WIN)

Stage 5: Unity Stage

Complete Trust and Unity in doing business
Genuine partnership at all levels in both organizations
Total immersion & cooperative level to share knowledge, resources and assets

The upcoming exercise will help you explore your relationships with partners,
and hopefully gain new insights as to the real stage they are at.

- 12 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

The Basic Relationship

Development Stages
Network Members Experimenting Developing Trusted, Trusted
Partner Partner Long Term, Advisor,
Potential Committed Long term
Associate/ Partner Partner Integrated

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Attraction Exploration Development Commitment Unity
Stage Stage Stage Stage Stage

Watching Testing Bonding Trusting Entrusting

Informal Formal
Networking Collaborating Partnering

The 5 Stages of Relationship Building adapted from Knowledge Brokers International (

- 13 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Evaluating the programme’s relationships and their potential opportunity for increasing the
investment value in young people

Is there a
Stage of Is the return on
Individual or Describe the Are there worthwhile
investment for
Organizational Relationship (3) opportunity
Focus/Nature challenges? young people
Partner to develop or
being realized?
(1) (2) Internal Partner’s (4) maintain it?
View View (5)

Partner A

Partner B

Partner C

- 14 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

This exercise requires a combination of both introspection, and tangible information and knowledge. Share this process with the
key individuals within your organization to learn from their insights and experiences. If possible, share this process with your partner(s)
themselves, as you will both have an opportunity to clarify the value you bring to each other, to young people and your community.
Refer to the concepts in the previous two diagrams to help you if you require.
(1) List each individual and organization with whom you have relationships in the column on the left. Indicate beside each
partner which core sector they are from (ie: public, private or civil society).
(2) Describe the focus and nature of your relationship with them. Briefly describe two important aspects (i) the purpose and
rational for your relationship (ii) the nature of the activities you are engaged in with them
(3) Indicate which stage of the relationship building process you are in with this partner. Also indicate which stage your partner
feels you are in. You can make an educated guess, however it would be more effective if you were to discuss this directly with your
partner. If you are newly established partners, it will serve you well to understand the various stages early on, so you can both engage
in guiding the relationship along. If you are already established in your partnership, you can also benefit by ‘checking in’ with your
partner. You might find that there is a disparity between your perspectives, which should warrant a clarifying discussion. Such a
disparity could mean each of you has unmet expectations, unexpressed issues, or undeveloped opportunities. If you are both ‘in synch’
with your perspectives, then you are likely in a positive position with each other.
(4) Next, indicate if there are any key challenges you have experienced currently or in the past with your partner. Briefly
describe the nature, cause and core elements of the challenges or conflicts. It is important to be clear, real and honest about them.
They will reveal to you some truths about your programme’s strengths and opportunities to grow and improve, and potentially untapped
opportunities to increase your return on investment in young people. If you find you have multiple challenges with your partner, you
may be at an earlier stage in your relationship. A general rule of thumb, if you have more potentially negative challenges in working with

- 15 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

a partner, you are still working through the stages of your relationship with them. If you have more ‘positive challenges’ than negative
ones, you are likely farther ahead in the relationship stages.
(5) Indicate whether you feel the relationship you are in with this partner is contributing to value creation and increasing the
potential return on investment in young people. It is important to be real, honest and truthful about this answer. You must ask the
question, ‘who is this relationship truly serving’? Is this relationship ‘youth-focused’? Is it helping my programme build its capacity to do
so, or creating a drain on its assets and resources? Are my programme’s assets and resources being maximized for the benefit of
young people? At the end of the day, that is what really counts.
(6) Determine and decide whether there is a worthwhile opportunity to develop your relationship to the next level. If your
relationship with this partner is already well developed, and value is being generated for young people as a result, then determine what
you are doing, and can do more of in order to maintain the relationship you have. This final step in this exercise is a ‘Call to Action’ and
to be pro-active in your relationship building activities with those partners that you have determined to bring the greatest value and
return for your programme and young people.

- 16 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 2: Ways for a programme to Develop Social Capital:

Once you have evaluated your relationships with other individuals and organizations, determine the kind of methods and
activities you could employ at this stage in your programme’s development to generate more value for young people from your existing
and potentially new relationships.
All of the methods and activities shown in this table above are all inter-related. For example, membership of groups and
associations can extend people’s access to and influence over other institutions. Likewise trust is likely to develop between people who
are connected through kinship relations or otherwise. Take a few moments to consider how these methodologies and activities could
enhance your relationships. With whom would they work well with? How will they help you with implementation of your strategy? Are
there any other methods or activities you can think of to help you further develop your social capital?

Methodology Activity/Focus

Networks and connecting Expanded access to wider base of


Membership in communities of Adherence of mutually agreed

practice/more formalized groups upon rules and norms

Relationships of trust, sharing, Facilitate partnerships,

reciprocity and exchanges collaboration, bonding; increases
value and quality; minimizes costs

- 17 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 3: Idea to Action Exercise:

Write down three ideas or actions you will implement into your work life to improve long-term relationships with individuals and
organizations according to the relationship building practices listed. This list is not inclusive. Can you think of other positive relationship
building practices that could help your programme?

IDEA for Action #1 IDEA for Action #2 IDEA for Action #3
building practices
Proving that you have a
long-term perspective
in mind


Talking to others in the

community more

Talking in greater depth

to gain understanding
of what is expected.

Improve with
knowledge, experience.

- 18 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

5.0 Networking, Partnerships and Strategic Planning

The link between strategic planning and livelihoods development is integral.
Strategic planning is a process that meets the needs of livelihoods development, and
adapts well to the involvement of people and other organizations in the community.
Where livelihoods development provides an approach to investing in young people,
strategic planning provides a process and tools to improve the work your programme
will have to do. This is also where the concept of effective practice comes in – where
effective practices (ie/: the Livelihoods Pathfinder effective practice framework) helps to
improve ‘how’ things are done. The Livelihoods Pathfinder framework, and this tool for
Networking and Partnerships are part of the process of improving ‘how’ things are done
through increased capacity building.
Building Social Capital capacity through more effective networking and
partnership building augments the various phases of the strategic planning process with
new insights, knowledge, and resources. Alternatively, a clear understanding of a
programme's vision, mission and goals help focus more strategic networking and
partnership opportunities and activities.
It is therefore important to review and reconsider the core elements of the
programme’s strategy before engaging in networking and partnership building activities.
Doing this will help your programme sharpen its focus, and accelerate the
effectiveness of its relationship building activities. For your programme to exist, it must
have some of these fundamental strategic elements, such as the Vision,
Purpose/Mission, Goals and Objectives. Review these elements briefly at this time so
you can make the necessary link between where you are going and what you plan to do
(vision and mission), what you plan to achieve (goals), and ultimately who you will want
to go there and do this with (your partners). The following tool will not take you into the
strategic planning process in detail. It assumes you have already undergone a strategic
planning process, or are committed to one (otherwise your programme would likely not
have received funding or have clients (in other words, you needed a plan to launch your
programme). It will provide you with a checklist and some critical thinking perspectives
on the process. If you feel you are ready to review your strategy, or perhaps are
planning on starting a programme and are just beginning your strategic planning
process, you might find this tool will help inspire and focus your thoughts and
- 19 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

planning activities. There are additional resources available to help you through
your programme’s strategic planning process. They are available at:
__________________ .

Several aspects of a programme’s strategic process

are accelerated through Networking and Partnerships

Planning to Plan

Vision & Values

Prelim. Opportunity Assess
Enhanced Social Capital
Mission Draft 2 through strategic networking
and partnerships
SWOT: Context Domain Situation Analysis 3
Strategic Options
Review/Revise Mission Key areas where enhanced social
capital builds strategic capacity
Goal Setting
1. Development and review of
programme vision and mission /
Objectives/Actions/Budgets Operational Plans purpose
2. Insights and knowledge of key
needs, challenges and
Implement opportunities, and related issues
3. Strategic positioning, roles in the
community and related goal setting
4. Developing and implementing
plans and gathering feedback on
successes and challenges

Diagram adapted from Larrie McDonald/Victor Cumming, Westcoast CED Consulting.

The Strategic Plan Checklist is intended to provide a brief review and overview
of the key elements of the strategic plan. For the purpose and scope of this tool and
materials, the full strategy is not required – however, we highly recommend that you
engage in a thorough SP process, and review if you have already done so. If you
require more information, assistance and support with the strategic planning for your
programme, we suggest the following:
1. Reference materials/web sites/toolkits
2. Contact other organizations
3. Contact Us (
- 20 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 4: Strategic Plan Checklist

Strategy Key questions Recommended

Perspectives Actions Complete?
Component (does your programme . . .?)

Have an in-depth understanding of the social, Short, medium and

economic and political/policy context? long term Consult with
Situation (context stakeholder
and opportunity) community and civil Y N
Clarity on your programme’s opportunity and Internal and society
capacity to invest in young people? external reviews

Know what you would like to see happen for Does the
programme vision Invite team
young people’s livelihood opportunities? Is it members and
Vision, values and clear on its own desired picture of success? inspire others,
including the Y N
principles stakeholders to a
programme’s visioning exercise
Have clarity on its core values and principles? clients and donors?

Know what function it can best perform to fulfill Does the mission Invite team
the vision? members and
describe the
Mission / purpose community Y N
Who it will perform this function for? programme’s stakeholders to
How it will perform it? unique purpose? provide feedback

Explore the key

Strategic Pathway Know what its strategic pathway options are? possible strategy Evaluate available
Options Have clarity on how to choose the right option? choices – and be resources Y N
clear on criteria

Each goal should Ensure goals are

Know what its most important achievements
Goals reflect a desired clear, measurable, Y N
should be to in order achieve its mission?
achievement and inspiring

Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Use TOOL 4 as a guidepost for strategic thinking and activity regarding your
programme strategy. It should remind you that the strategy process is vitally important
to your programme because it will help you maximize the effectiveness of your assets,
resources, and activities. Work through each component to refresh, re-design or write
the core components of your strategy. As you work through each one, check it off.

1. Know your programme’s opportunity and situation. In order to get a better picture
of your programme’s current context and capacity, and where opportunity lies, identify
and describe the assets, strengths, needs and challenges of your community, and in
particular the youth you are planning to serve, according to the following:
ƒ Social context
ƒ Economic context
ƒ Political/policy context

Also try to describe each in terms of:

ƒ The short term, medium term and long term perspectives.
ƒ Internal and external assessments/perspectives

2. Review and refine your vision

Describe your desired outcome or picture of success for your programme and young
people? What are your programme’s core values and principles?

3. Your Mission/purpose:
• What core function is your programme intended to perform?
• Who will your programme perform this function for?
• How will your programme go about performing this function?

4. What are your programme’s strategic pathway options? What are the different
ways you can fulfill your mission and vision? For each strategic option, what is the:
• Function or role of the programme?
• Key target or focus of the programme’s function or role?
• The programme’s main approach for how this role will be played?
- 22 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

5. What criteria did you/will you use to choose your strategic pathway?
Use the following categories as guidelines:
• Activities of other organizations
• Target group needs and assets
• Local and regional opportunities (ie: market)
• Available resources
• Internal and community assets
• Values, and desires of the programme team, supporters, donors and the

6. What are the primary goals for your programme? Based on the strategic pathway
you have chosen, or are likely to choose, write short, yet descriptive goal statements.
Each goal statement should relate to one key achievement for your programme over a
desired period of time.

- 23 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

6.0 Understanding Core Competencies in Relationships

An asset-resource based approach to programme effectiveness looks at the
areas of expertise, skills and resources that are unique and well-developed by a
These areas of expertise may be in any area but are most likely to develop in the
central areas of the programme’s service offerings where the most value is added to its
clients and the community.
Core Competencies evolve, improve and change over time. As the programme is
faced with the challenges of a dynamically changing environment, it must evolve and
adapt to new circumstances and opportunities. Networking and partnerships will be a
key driver of this evolving process. Therefore, it is important to note that the nature of its
core competencies will have to adapt and change, as will its interaction with its partners,
and the selection of its partners. In this way the programme will be able to make the
most of its given resources and apply them to new opportunities. Prahalad and Hamel,
in their work on competence3, describe this process of adaptation and change in the
following way:
“The skills that together constitute core competence must coalesce around
individuals whose efforts are not so narrowly focused that they cannot recognise the
opportunities for blending their functional expertise with those of others in new and
interesting ways.”

Leveraging Core Competencies for effective Networking and Partnerships

Identify and competencies for
examine core opportunities to
competencies build social capital
through networking
Programme and partnership

Prahalad and Hamel, in their work on competence (G Hamel & C K Prahalad - Competing for the Future. HBS Press 1996.
- 24 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Core Competencies should change in response to changes in the programme’s

When a programme embarks on networking and partnership building activities, it
is important to gain a clearer understanding of the programme’s core competencies and
strength. What is it good at? What is it about the programme that makes it different?
According to Prahalad and Hamel [1990], there are three key aspects or criteria
to identifying a core competency. In the context of livelihoods for young people, they are
described as:
• It provides access to a wider range of opportunities
• It makes a significant contribution to the value of investment in youth
• It is unique and difficult for other programmes to imitate

- 25 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 5: Assess a Programme’s Core Competencies

g p
Competencies/ Ability to Ability/ Potential
Resources and increase Access to increase Value Non-imitable? TOTAL
Assets to Opportunity

Circle the rating

1 (ie: market 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 4.5 you wish to assign
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 11 (Step 1)

2 (ie: innovation 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5
skills and culture) 12 Add the total
ratings you have
3(ie: training assigned for each
11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 9 competency
skills) (Step 1)

4(ie: programme Add the totals

11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 10 under each criteria
design) (Step 3)

5 (ie: community Add the totals for

11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 11.5 22.5 3 3.544.5 5 13 all the competency
relationships) ratings (Step 2)

TOTALS 21 19 15 55
Divide your total ratings
Core Competencies: (1)_________
5 2
(2)__________ 1
(3)__________ score by the number of
competencies you listed
Rank your competencies by score and (Step 2)
place them in order here (Step 2)

- 26 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Putting Tool 5 Into Practice

Step 1
The tool above is intended to provide basic insights as to which programme
resources and strengths make up a set of ‘core competencies’, according to the three
criteria. List your programme’s assets along the left column in whatever order you
choose. Then in the squares along each row beside each competence (asset/resource)
you have listed, assign the resource/asset a rating on a scale of 1 to 5 based on its
ability to match the criteria. Assign a 1 if it has a low ability and a 5 if it has high ability.
Assign a 2, 3 or 4 if it’s ability is somewhere in the middle. You can also assign partial
ratings on a 10 decimal range, such as 4.3 or 2.5.
Rating Guide: 1-2: generally weak; 2-3: some capacity, but visible weaknesses;
3-4: strong capacity; 4-5: strong capacity, and capable of high value contribution to
other programmes
Step 2
Then add up the total rating points for each criterion, and write the total rating in
the box at the end of the row. Do this for each competence you have listed. Once you
have done this, list the top rated competencies in order along the bottom of the page.
These are your core competencies.
**To strengthen your results, it is recommended you consider asking others to
conduct this process with you. It will enrich the insights and learning process for you
and y our team, and will sharpen your results and clarity of focus.
Step 3
Add up the total scores for all competencies. Divide your total score by the
number of competencies you listed to determine your total average rating score. Refer
to the scale below to assign your programme a Total Competency Rating. Below is the
rating guide for this:
14+ (Very strong set of core competencies, high overall value contribution to
12+(Very competent programme, high potential)
10+ (Competent programme with some potential)
8+ (Some solid competence with possible potential, needs effective asset
capacity and strategic re-focusing)
- 27 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

5+ (Programme is at risk, requires more capacity building work defining and

honing its competencies)
3+ (Significant risk, requires significant strategic planning, refocusing, and asset
capacity building support)
This rating will provide the programme with general insights as to the average
level of strength and effectiveness of its core assets and competencies. It is valuable
knowledge when looking for networking and partnership building opportunities to
augment and build capacity, and generate more value in the community for its clients.
Step 4
Total the ratings you have assigned for each competency under each criteria (ie:
total rating score for ‘ability to increase access to opportunity’) When you examine these
totals, you should gain insights as to the nature of your competencies, resources and
assets. For example, do you have significant access to opportunity, but are weak on
being unique?

- 28 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

7.0 Where Can Networks and Partnerships Be Found?

Effective programmes share a capacity for identifying and developing
relationships with partners that will broaden their horizons, give them new knowledge,
insights and potential solutions. They recognize the importance of expanding their view
to a more open-minded, global perspective when it comes to relationship building. To
this end, the illustration above is intended to provide a picture of a global view of
sources of potential networks and partners.
Now that you have spent some time reviewing your programme’s strategy, and
are more clear on your programme’s competencies in terms of its core assets and
strengths, you can use this global view to examine your environment for potential
networks and partners you seek to establish value-creating relationships with.


(organizational) EXTERNAL (geographic location, and public, private and civil society)

Staff/team Local Regional Country Global

Board, donors Community Community Region Region



- 29 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 6: Exploring Sources of Relationships

The purpose of this exercise is to have a complete list of geographic and sectoral areas that you can explore for the names of
potential partners.
Construct a list of the geographic areas, sectors and other frames of reference that will help trigger the names of specific
partners that you might want to become partners with. Think about your programme strategy in terms of its vision, mission and goals.
Also think about your programme assets and resources, and your core competencies. Explain why each item is important to you.
You will eventually use this list to help you categorize your most desired partners: the ones that will help you yield the greatest
return on investment in young people. You will come back to this list later.

Frame of Reference Description/Rationale for Importance

1. Business Associations Increase networking with private sector

2. Community Service Groups Maintain community interest / balance

3. Local Council Leverage local influence

4. National Youth Organizations Knowledge of national youth issues

5. <your example>

6. <your example>

Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 30 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

8.0 The ABC’s of Networking and Partnerships

8.1 Focusing increase return on assets and resources invested
The foundation for targeting the right partners understands the kind of focus
needed for present, past and future partners. From here we apply an ‘ABC’ approach to
targeting. When identifying partners that slot into Retain, Develop, Regain and Gain
strategies it is absolutely vital to think of those existing or potential partners as being
those who will give your programme the best return on assets invested in the
relationship, and ultimately the greatest value for young people. The way to do this is to
categorize clients and potential clients into an A, B or C category.


and High A=Absolute Higher Yield
Relationship and
Investment Effectiveness


and Lower
C=Convenient Lower Yield


“A” Partners
These are the existing or potential partners who absolutely can help you yield a
big return for your investment in assets, and increase your value contribution. These are
the partners that you cannot afford to lose and it is the group of partners that hold highly
visible and recognized value in the community. They bring your programme to a new
level or height in its status and potential sustainability, and most importantly, its own
effectiveness in making investments in young people. With this group it is an absolute
necessity that you determine who these partners and network members are and could
be and then put an action plan together to capitalize on a relationship with this group.

- 31 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

This is the group with whom you most need to be pro-active in order to retain,
develop, regain and gain. You can afford the time and money to do relationship selling
and relationship marketing. You put in the maximum effort with these clients or
“B” Partners
It is beneficial to have relationships with these partners. Some relationship
building activity is needed but not at the same level or intensity as A accounts. You
have a limited amount of time and energy. The “B’s” are often partners who will grow
into “A’s”.
“C” Partners
It is convenient to have relationships with these partners if you have developed
convenient ways to handle them so they do not drain the scarce or limited assets and
resources you have.
“D” Partners
The D partners are those from whom you need to detach yourself. This group
could include clients who:
• Are not honest in their dealings with you.
• Create issues with you and your programme and your clients
• Require too much of an investment relative to the value and opportunity
they return.
A ‘D’ partner could be geographically out of reach, needs attention you cannot
give or seriously affects your operations in a negative manner.
Caution: Though you may think you are dealing with a ‘D’ partner, you likely
should not detach until you are certain there is no other alternative. Decisions cannot be
always be made with bottom line thinking. Programmes like yours are designed to serve
the community however, you have limited assets and resources to invest and you must
remember to utilize your assets for the absolute best return on investment.
Once the concept of ABC targeting is understood the next step is to come up
with your own criteria on what makes up an A partner, B partner, C partner or even a D
partner. The types of criteria are often different when dealing with the public sector,
private sector or civil society, as well as organizations and individuals from different
- 32 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 7 (Action Exercise): Applying the ABC’s to Sources of Partners (Step 1)

Now go back to the results from the exercise where you identified your list of areas where you might find potential partners. Using the ABC’s targeting
concept, assign each of the key source areas either an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ depending on the importance and effectiveness of this area to sourcing new potential partners.
This process will ultimately help you determine which relationships with existing and potential partners are most worthwhile investing in.
Your ‘A’ sources will be those that will provide you with the highest value, and are worth the majority of your investment of assets into relationship building
activity. Your programme needs to have relationships with potential partners from this source area to support its sustainability and effectiveness.
The ‘B’ sources will be those that are beneficial source areas to invest in, as they may bring you connections to potential partners that could be ‘A’
category partners.
The ‘C’ source areas will be those that you will only invest in when you have enough resources to invest, after your activity focusing on the ‘A’’s.
Eventually you will apply the ABC’s to the specific partners you may choose to invest in.

Frame of Reference Rationale
(A, B or C)

1. Business Associations A

2. Community Service Groups B

3. Local Council C

4. National Youth Organizations B

5. <your example>

6. <your example>

Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 33 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 7 (Action Exercise): Applying the ABC’s to Sources of Partners (Step 2)

Review the Source Areas and list the ones you feel would be most likely to gather existing or potential ‘A’ partners from.

‘A’ Source Areas Rationale




Brief comments on A-Group Observation.

- 34 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 7 (Action Exercise): Applying the ABC’s to Sources of Partners (Step 3):
Review the Source Areas and list the ones you feel would be most likely to gather existing or potential ‘B’ partners from.
It is okay to list industries that you also have in the A-Group from Step 2.

‘B’ Source Areas Rationale




Brief comments on B-Group Observation.

- 35 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 7 (Action Exercise): Applying the ABC’s to Sources of Partners (Step 4):
Review the Source Areas and list the ones you feel would be most likely to gather existing or potential ‘C’ partners from.
Once again it is okay to list industries that were on your A list and/or your B list in Step 2 and Step 3.

‘C’ Source Areas Rationale




Brief comments on C-Group Observation.

- 36 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 8: Targeting the Right Partner (Step 1)

Assigning Primary Targeting Criteria
Once you have identified and categorized your key source areas of potential partners, then you can begin a process of going deeper within each of those
source areas to find potential partners.
First, begin by focusing on your ‘A’ source areas. (ie: refer to the ‘A’ list you made earlier) Now you are going to develop a set of primary targeting criteria
to help you identify the right potential partners within each of those source areas:
1) Make a list of the key criteria that you feel will be important for your programme’s partners to meet.
These criteria will eventually help you believe would be effective in helping you come up with the measurement criteria you need to select ABC Partners
2) Look at each measurement criterion and score 0 - 10 to show how useful you believe this method would be. A score of 0 indicates a criterion that is of
no use. A score of 10 indicates a very useful criterion. Refer to the example shown.
Try to identify as many different criteria as possible. Don’t worry about whether the criteria are useful or not. Make the primary criteria list first, then after
reviewing this list, assign a rating. This way, you can be surer of more creativity and free thinking in identifying the criteria
Once you have done this with your ‘A’ source areas, then do the same for ‘B’ and ‘C’ source areas.

Potential Partner Source Area: A Group (Business Associations)

Measurement Criteria Selector Rating (0-10)

1. Credibility with donors 9

2. Proven track record with young people 7

3. Open, positive entrepreneurial culture 8

4. <your example>

- 37 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 8: Targeting the Right Partner (Step 2)

Assigning Primary Targeting Criteria
Next, identify the Top 5 to 7 primary targeting criteria in priority, based on ratings and instinct. List them in order.

Potential Partner Source Area: A Group (Business Associations)

Measurement Criteria (Top 5-7) Rating (0-10)

1. Credibility with donors 9

2. Open, positive entrepreneurial culture 8

3. Proven track record with young people 7




Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 38 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 8: Targeting the Right Partner (Step 3)

Assigning Secondary Targeting Criteria
Once you have identified the top 5-7 measurement criteria according to rating level, then start thinking about a secondary, more specific set of
measurement criteria to help you determine how to place a potential partner who demonstrates this primary criteria in either an ‘A’, ‘B’, or ‘C’ category.
Note: the secondary targeting criteria can be both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Quantitative criteria will make it easier for you to categorize your
potential partners; however, it is also important to consider more qualitative characteristics of potential partners. It is therefore recommended to have a mix of
qualitative and quantitative secondary targeting criteria.
After going through the exercise identifying 5 different measurements and then breaking each measurement in A, B or C-Groups you may find it to be an
easy process to identify which measurements are most important especially in selecting potential partners to go into the A and B Groups.
p( )
Secondary Criteria by Group
Primary Criteria
Sufficient funding, Initial funding
Well funded, solid
generally positive accepted, waiting for
1. Credibility with donors results, proposals
results, most results, good donor
usually accepted
proposals accepted contacts

Staff and youth freely Staff and youth have

Some sharing of
2. Open and positive share ideas in limited sharing of
ideas, not organized,
organized way, and ideas, and are
generally inspired and
organizational culture are inspired and generally inspired and
highly motivated motivated

High success ratio, Uncertain or untracked

3. Proven track record with highly positive feedback Medium success ratio, success ration, with
from young people with positive feedback general positive
young people themselves, feedback


Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 39 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 8: Targeting the Right Partner (Step 4)

Final Analysis to Find Your Focus
Now is the time to review all of the information in Step 3 to draw your final conclusions. Review and examine all of the primary
and secondary criteria you have assembled under each of the A, B and C categories. Make any refinements if you feel it is necessary.
Now think about where the most important traits of the potential partners that would have the most impact on the value being created by
your programme. Try to determine where your focus should be based on these most important, most desired traits. List and describe
them in order of priority, and describe your rationale for each one. Note: Your effort should mainly be on A’s and B’s.

Potential Partner Source Area: A Group (Business Associations)

Priority Why? Explanation





- 40 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

9.0 Focusing for Value Creation

Once you have identified and categorized your potential partners by the ABC’s,
the next steps involve making strategic choices about the manner in which you will
pursue building a relationship. This process will enable you to add another layer of
targeting criteria to your ABC’s.
To increase the effectiveness of your social capital investment (ie: relationship
building with network members and partners), it is strategically wise to segment your ‘A’,
‘B’ and ‘C’ partners into categories based on the tactics and general activities you will
need to employ to maximize the expected value contribution they may make to your
programme and the young people you serve. These ‘strategic’ categories help you
categorize them as past, present and potential partners into the following areas of ‘value
creating focus’:
1. Present partners whose relationship you wish to Retain because you are
maximizing value with them
2. Present partners whose relationship you wish to Develop because you want to
increase value with them.
3. Past partners whose relationship you wish to Regain because you see
renewed potential value being created.
4. ‘Non-partners’ or ‘unknown’ network members you would like to Gain a
relationship with because you see potential value you can create together.
There is also a 5th group and that is the group of people and organizations you
should likely choose to let go (Detach) because there is no real value being created, or
no real value potential at present. As well, the required investment of your programme’s
assets (ie: including cost in time, energy, ability, money and reputation) is beyond the
capacity you may have right now because the potential value return you see does not
justify the investment.
Network members who you choose to place into any of these ‘strategic
categories’ may come from the public sector, private sector or civil society.

- 41 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Improving your programme’s relationship

building performance through:
‘Focusing for Value Creation’






- 42 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 9: Focusing for Value Creation

Reviewing Strategic Approaches for Existing Partners

Partner Retain? Develop? Regain? Gain? Reasons




1. In the table above, list the names of your existing partners in the left column. Group them according to the A’s, B’s
or C’s. Then, after referring to the descriptions below, determine which relationship value creation strategy you feel
would be worth employing with this partner, and place a check in the appropriate square. Most of your existing
partners will fall into the Retain or Develop categories. Provide your reasons for your choice.
2. Then look at you’re ‘A’ list of potential partners, then the ‘B’s and then the ‘C’s. Which strategic category applies
the most?

- 43 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

Putting Tool 9 into Practice:

Go back to your list. Let’s look at ways in which we can improve our networking and relationship building performance, based on
employing these ‘strategic value creation’ categories:

It is likely that the 80/20 rule applies to your programme’s context in a sense that the vast majority of the value and opportunity
you will be able to generate through network members and partners will come from a very small few.
These are you most important, most valued partners and associates. A programme cannot afford to lose any of these partners
because they represent the foundation of the value your programme provides, and existing and future opportunities for your
programme. It may take several new clients and a large investment to replace this loss.
The main focus with this group is to retain them through building a trusting, sharing and open relationship with them. They
provide the cornerstone of value and opportunity for your programme, and require a significant portion of your assets being invested
into your relationship with them. However, bear in mind that it is not strategically wise to invest too much of your programme’s assets
into these relationships without also having a significant portion also being invested into new other new or existing relationship that will
help you increase and build value and opportunity. Your programme must stay relevant and timely in its value offering to your clients.
As such your partners and network associates must also reflect where you want to go based on the demands of your clients.

These are existing partners who you feel you want to explore bringing out more value and see more opportunity to be developed
in your relationship with them. The goal is to develop this group. A relationship of some type is already in place with most individuals
and organizations in this group. This should be the easiest group from whom you could increase your value and opportunity and should
likely be the first group to explore new opportunities with.

- 44 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

There are individuals and organizations with whom you may have had a relationship in the past, but for various reasons you lost
contact or the relationship ended. These are the potential partners that you may want to renew, redefine and revitalize your relationship
with because they are the ones you identify as worthwhile putting the time, energy, ability, money and reputation into, to generate more
value and opportunity. This group has had some experience with you and so they are familiar with you. This is a good group of potential
partners to focus on because in most cases, some type of relationship exists before you make the call.

These are individuals and organizations that your programme has never had a relationship with. They are network members who
have relationships with other programmes, have their own social capital capacity and influence on the activities and development of
young people, and may have potential to bring more value to your programme’s value contribution as well. These network members
may also have no connection to the network of youth livelihoods development agencies, however they have a potential contribution to
make to the whole, and you see the opportunity for their contribution.

- 45 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 10: Strategic Focusing on Target Partners

Existing/Potential Partner Identifier

Once you have completed your Review of your target partner source areas, and developed your primary and secondary
targeting criteria (ABC’s), now you are ready for the next step of actually entering the names of specific and potential partners into the
target group categories. If you are struggling with identifying actual names of individuals and organizations, begin with what you know
now. It is important to begin this process as early as possible. As you become more pro-actively networked and connected in your
community and region, you are more than likely to find new potential sources and names of individuals and groups who you may want
to apply your targeting criteria to. Your list will evolve and expand over time.
Start with the A group only. Remember your ‘A’ category target partners are those that best fit your ‘A’ category targeting criteria.
It is important to spend enough time on this group. When you have done a thorough job of categorizing your ‘A’ partners, then move on
to your B’s and C’s.
Review each source area and list those existing and potential partners that you think should be under the A group.
Present partners who share mutual trust, knowledge and resources with you, fit under Retain.
Partnerships that you feel have worthwhile potential, belong under Develop. Note: Some of your partners under Retain also can
be developed.
Previous partners who now who could be valuable to your programme, will go under the Regain column.
Non-users who are big users of products and services from competitors or who are just entering the market (but have great
potential) will fall under the Gain column.
Note: If you like, you can break your A-group into A1, A2 and A3 This will help you sharpen your focus even more so you have a
greater amount of clarity when you are engaging in your networking and partnership building activities.
Now proceed to the next steps, and follow the same actions for your ‘B’ Group and ‘C’ Group.

- 46 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 10 (Action Exercise): Strategic Focusing on Target Partners (Step 1)

‘A’ Group

Name of individual Current ‘A’ Partners Potential ‘A’ Partners

or Organization
Retain Develop Regain Gain

Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 47 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 10 (Action Exercise): Strategic Focusing on Target Partners (Step 2)

‘B’ Group

Name of individual Current ‘B’ Partners Potential ‘B’ Partners

or Organization
Retain Develop Regain Gain

Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 48 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 10 (Action Exercise): Strategic Focusing on Target Partners (Step 3)

‘C’ Group

Name of individual Current ‘C’ Partners Potential ‘C’ Partners

or Organization
Retain Develop Regain Gain

Note: Information above is provided only as an example.

- 49 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 11 (Action Exercise): Putting it All Together

Current Partners Non-Partners
Retain Develop Regain Gain

A (Absolute)

B (Beneficial)

C (Convenient)

- 50 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

10.0 Partners are People

At this point, it is a good strategic step to begin looking at the individuals
themselves who you will be dealing with in forming a partnership with your target
organisation(s). Once you have a good sense of your primary organisational targets, it
is important to remember that you are partnering with people, and each of these
individuals has their own important contribution to make to the process of partnering. In
reality, dealing with people in a way that ultimately contributes to the value creation for
your programme involves a many complexities and dynamics. There is a complex
network of personalities, goals, interests, skills and knowledge, relationships and other
contextual challenges – each of which adds to the dynamic fabric of the network. At the
end of the day, it is this diversity which actually strengthens the network.
With this in mind, it is important to learn about and appreciate the different roles
each player may play, and their levels of impact in generating opportunities for your
programme. In most instances, it is important to know so you can divert your investment
of resources and assets away from non-productive relationships, and focus on those
that ultimately yield the greatest return on investment in young people.
There are 6 core player profiles to understand and look for:
1. Navigator: A well respected carrier of information and has strong influence on
the decision makers. Helps you plot your course of action.
2. Connector (and hubs): An individual who has a strong social network (high
level of social capital) and thrives on proactively connecting people together who can
add value to each other.
3. Persuader: People who have the passion or keen interest in the central theme
or topic, or opportunity at hand. This person can also be a connector.
4. Protector: These people are specialists in details and in conducting due
diligence regarding relationships. They are valuable in the partnering process because
they can ensure the core operational aspects of a relationship are intact.
5. Opposer: This person will help you with your ‘values check-in’ by acting as a
barometer against your values and principles. They will typically become opposers to
relationships, deals and activities that do not fit with their core purpose.
6. Ruler: The person who commands or exercises authority in the organization,
or in the network or group of people, and who prefers the big picture without details.
- 51 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

One person may have more than one network role in different situations and
different times. In most cases, one particular role will be dominant in terms of its effect
on your relationship with your target partner, and potential opportunity you may realize.
For example, someone whose dominant role is a connector may also have a supporting
role as a navigator or persuader. Someone whose dominant role is a navigator may
also be a persuader.

Partners are People:

Key Roles Within the Programme’s Opportunity Network

1. Knowledge
Navigator Hub
6. 2.
2. Expert
Connector Hub
The Ruler
The Social
Programme Hub

5. 3.
‘Opposer’ Persuader

Protector The Key
Network Roles

It is also important to note that at different times in different situations people can
shift their network roles. Such role shifts depend on the contextual dynamics of their
environment, and the accessibility of opportunities. For example, A ‘navigator’ or
‘connector’ may shift back and forth with the ‘ruler’ role being more dominant,
depending on the situation. Each person has all the power player profiles contained
within them. Your challenges are to figure which is more prominent and strong.
The following exercise will help you identify and categorize the individuals in your
network in terms of their potential value contribution and importance to your
programme’s goals.
- 52 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12: Gauging level of influence and importance

In this exercise, your goal is to determine the key people who will have the greatest level of influence on building the relationship
you want with your target partner.
From your list of A category partners, make a list of the names of key individuals within those ‘A’ list organizations. Using the
table above, combined with your understanding of the different key network roles, assign a rating between 0 and 10 to each role in
terms of how dominant that role is to that person’s overall potential value contribution to your relationship with your target partner.
Provide a brief explanation as to why you assign each rating.
Circle the dominant 3 roles this individual plays in your network with respect to your relationship and opportunities with this target
partner. The dominant three roles are the ones with the top three highest rating point levels.
Next, total up all of the rating scores you assigned to each of these top three network roles. Then divide the total score by 3. This
result will provide you with an idea of this person’s total influence power on the decision you are seeking.
Now use this score to help you determine if this individual fits into either an ‘A’ (absolute), ‘B’ (beneficial), or ‘C’ (convenient)
category according to the influence level ratings you assigned to each category. This will help you sharpen your strategic focus on the
right people – it is most important to focus you relationships with those individuals who have the highest degrees of influence.
Take a look again at this person’s top 3 roles. You will see some people almost share similar roles because of their personality,
interest, talents and skills. In this person’s example, their Influence Profile indicates they are a Ruler-Navigator, with almost a perfect
match between their role as a Ruler, and their default role as a Navigator. In this example, this is a highly desirable individual to target,
as he or she carries the authority to make decisions, as well as having the knowledge and connections to support the right decisions.
Now you can determine the basis for the strategy you should likely take to build your relationship with this person and each
individual whose network roles you assess using this process. Review the names of the individuals that you think should be under the A
group. Now determine which of these A group network members, contacts, or existing partners you would categorize according to
Retain, Develop, Regain or Gain and then develop a corresponding strategy for each person to meet your focused goals.

- 53 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12: Gauging level of influence and importance (Use to repeat for Steps 1, 2 and 3)
Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ‘A’ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator 8

2. Connector 8

3. Persuader 5

4. Protector 5

5. Opposer 6
There is usually only one ruler – therefore they are assigned an
6. Ruler 10 automatic 10. If they are not a ruler, they will likley have a ‘0’
rating here.

Total Score 42 8.7

General Influence Level

Primary Power Role Ruler-Navigator

*Influence rating based on 0-10, where 1-2 means little or no influence, 3-4 means this person portrays some influence in this role, 5-6 means they have some
influence, 7-8 means considerable influence, and 9-10 means this is the main role this person plays in the dynamics around building a partnership with this
organization. Conduct Steps 2 (focusing on B partners) and 3 (focusing on C partners) using this same approach and the worksheets provided.

- 54 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12 Worksheet: Gauging Influence

Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ___ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator

2. Connector

3. Persuader

4. Protector

5. Opposer

6. Ruler

Total Score
General Influence Level

Primary Power Role

- 55 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12 Worksheet: Gauging Influence

Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ___ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator

2. Connector

3. Persuader

4. Protector

5. Opposer

6. Ruler

Total Score
General Influence Level

Primary Power Role

- 56 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12 Worksheet: Gauging Influence

Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ___ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator

2. Connector

3. Persuader

4. Protector

5. Opposer

6. Ruler

Total Score
General Influence Level

Primary Power Role

- 57 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12 Worksheet: Gauging Influence

Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ___ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator

2. Connector

3. Persuader

4. Protector

5. Opposer

6. Ruler

Total Score
General Influence Level

Primary Power Role

- 58 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12 Worksheet: Gauging Influence

Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ___ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator

2. Connector

3. Persuader

4. Protector

5. Opposer

6. Ruler

Total Score
General Influence Level

Primary Power Role

- 59 -
Effective Practice Toolkit: Networking and Partnerships

TOOL 12 Worksheet: Gauging Influence

Target Category (Organizational): (ie: ___ Group) Name and Position: _______________
Network Role Rating* Rationale

1. Navigator

2. Connector

3. Persuader

4. Protector

5. Opposer

6. Ruler

Total Score
General Influence Level

Primary Power Role

- 60 -