chapter  6
22 Pages

Collaboration Appraisal

In business, we measure performance in all its forms. The tools used are sophisticated, and people who study for MBAs are required to show an understanding of most of them. Why, then, do we not measure relationship performance? The usual answer is: ‘It’s too difficult.’ Instead, we rely on tracking operational and financial key performance indicators even though these are invariably in arrears and only from our own perspective. We have to trust our partner’s figures and guess what is happening across our interfaces. A common problem is that one partner may focus on time, cost and quality, whereas the other will track sales and revenues. Although organisations tie up huge capital and human investments in their strategic alliances, joint ventures and partnerships, they rely heavily on backward-looking, imperfect performance measures. They then wonder how issues that have boiled away unseen, such as complacency, distrust, quality failures, opportunism, late deliveries, cost over-runs and communication gaps, suddenly rear their heads as major issues. Panicked, often the first recourse is to the contract and the penalty clauses.