The Art of pARTnership: Maximizing Win/Wins

I ran across this quote while researching a book that will be released in 2025 (more on that soon). The quote credited to Mother Teresa is:

“I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot, and together, we can do great things.”

Since the leaders I am writing about are exceptionally skilled at achieving success for diverse stakeholders in the healthcare industry (business clients, insurance companies, Medicare, and patients), I’ve been looking at models of stakeholder success.

Here’s a quick look at some of the frameworks used to understand and drive success for your stakeholders:

Power Interest Matrix and Stakeholder Salience Model

These tools help prioritize stakeholders:

  • Power Interest Matrix: This matrix classifies stakeholders based on their authority (power) level and interest in a project. It helps decide whether to keep them informed, monitor, actively manage, or engage them closely.
  • Stakeholder Salience Model: This model categorizes stakeholders based on power, legitimacy, and urgency. It guides how to tailor engagement strategies, from merely acknowledging stakeholders to actively collaborating with them.

Stakeholder Engagement Cycle

This model views stakeholder engagement as a four-phase process:

  1. Identify: Recognize all potential stakeholders relevant to your project or business.
  2. Analyze: Understand the stakes, expectations, and influence of identified stakeholders.
  3. Prioritize: Determine who has the most impact on project success.
  4. Engage: Develop and implement strategies to communicate and collaborate with key stakeholders.
  5. Monitor and Adapt: Regularly review stakeholder responses and adapt strategies as necessary.

Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Management Model

This model outlines strategies for dealing with conflicts among stakeholders:

  • Competing (Win-Lose): Assertive and uncooperative, good when quick decisions are needed.
  • Collaborating (Win-Win): Both assertive and cooperative, ideal for integrating multiple viewpoints.
  • Compromising: Moderate assertiveness and cooperativeness, useful when quick, mutually acceptable solutions are needed.
  • Avoiding (Lose-Lose): Neither assertive nor cooperative, chosen when the issue is trivial.
  • Accommodating (Lose-Win): Unassertive and cooperative, effective when the other party has better ideas.

Tips for Developing Healthy Partnerships Based on Constructive Influence

Considerable thought and research have gone into the models outlined above, and I would encourage you to take time to understand each one in greater detail, but for our purposes, here are six high-level tips that emerge from this work:

  • Foster Trusting Relationships: Cultivate a foundation of trust and mutual respect with all stakeholders.
  • Ensure Clear Communication: Maintain transparency by providing stakeholders with precise, direct, and timely updates.
  • Act on Feedback: Value and respond to input from stakeholders, adjusting strategies to best meet their needs.
  • Assess Stakeholder Motivations: Identify and address each stakeholder’s interests and goals.
  • Demonstrate Competence: Build credibility by consistently delivering your expertise and capabilities.
  • Anticipate and Avert: Stay ahead of potential challenges by anticipating problems and proposing preemptive solutions.

Assuming Mother Teresa was correct, we can do GREAT THINGS together ONLY IF we know how to collaborate for mutual benefit!

To learn more about ways to establish and sustain “win/win” partnerships, please get in touch with me at

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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