MKBLP thoughts on: Partnerships

Date: 28 Feb 2018

Partnership must be more than just a word if business partnerships are to work

According to my dictionary the word ‘partnership’ is a noun meaning a joint business venture between two or more people.  It could also be a relationship between two people, or in cricket the partnership between batsmen.

But whether it is in business, a marriage or at the crease those involved in a partnership should expect certain things of each other.  That the other will pull their weight, that the benefits and the challenges to be faced will be shared, and that there is trust between them.

The Milton Keynes Business Partnership - yes there’s that word partnership in our name - exists to identify and develop the strategic interests and needs of business in Milton Keynes.  We engage with decision makers in the city and in the wider SEMLEP area to provide focused representation for, and influence on business issues.  We do this with a host of public and private sector organisations, local and regional authorities, political parties and interest groups and many others

Our objective is to constructively collaborate with these organisations and build meaningful and lasting partnerships.  Our experience of these has been almost without exception, extremely positive with sometimes diverse and even disparate parties working hard together to get the job done and focus on issues which affect the business success of Milton Keynes for the benefit of all in our community.  MK Business Leaders concentrates its attention on areas that are key to that success including: Skills; Education; Infrastructure; a Knowledge-based Economy and Health and Wellbeing.

But different organisations have different agendas, a different way of working and sometimes even a different concept of time when there is a need for swift decisive action.  This can, on occasions, make maintaining a successful partnership a challenge.  Sometimes, even a shared understanding of the challenges that we must overcome to take a plan forward and a determination to meet them, might not always be clearly demonstrated by everyone at the table.

To achieve our objectives, all of us who are passionate about being advocates for business and business organisations must engage with local organisations on a level playing field and display a mutual respect for each other.  For this to work, all sides have to show commitment and a united determination to achieve joint goals, and understand that ‘partnership’ has to be more than just a word.

Dr Philip Smith MBE

Chair Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership