“Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” – Matthew 10:32-33
A partnership is entered into because of the synergy which one expects to gain from the relationship. The twain or many shall become one and the benefits are expected to be greater than the sum of the benefits which would accrue from each of the partners on their own. Partnerships manifest themselves in many ways: in International affairs, at the national level, in business, socially and generally. If partners can boast of tenets such as a Shared Vision, Cultural Diversity, a Code of Ethics, Longevity, Loyalty, Transparency, Equity, Fair Play, Trust and Values then we may define the relationship as a Smart Partnership. What I would like to see is a positive promotion of the Smart Partnership concept but this will require commitment to the objective and a monitoring process to ensure that if there is deviation from the target that corrective action is immediately taken. The Power of Partnership is epitomised in Matthew 10:32-33 which means “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If you turn tail and run, do you think I’ll cover for you?” This concept must be more pervasive here on earth. Internationally, last week President Obama created waves which rolled up on the shores of the G20 countries (countries with the world’s largest economies) and by extension created a soothing ripple effect throughout the globe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Chinese President Hu Jintao had apparently irreconcilable differences on a major issue up to the night before. In an inspiring and historic ten minutes, in “extra time”, huddling first with Sarkozy and then independently with Hu, interpreters and all, he broke a deadlock as the prospect of a collapse in the negotiations was beginning to rear its head. Crisis creates opportunity and President Obama has opened a door that the world can turn into a Smart Partnership that will move the relationship between the United States and each country in the world to a new and rewarding level. It can also be a model for Smart Partnership relationships between pairs or groups of countries in the world. Also, President Obama is promoting the concept of “We are not enemies of Islam”, let us therefore work together in Smart Partnership in the interest of the peoples of the world. According to Bevan Springer in his recent article “The Darker the Night, The Brighter the Light” – “Let us get out of the water, dry ourselves off and chart a new course, offering a bright light in today’s sea of darkness. Yes, We can”. Let us create Smart Partnerships and build the world into that better place it was meant to be. Nationally, many successful countries, especially latecomers, in terms of export diversification and enhancement have not relied entirely on spontaneous market forces. Rather they have developed public-private alliances to build consensus about long term strategies. They have proactively established specialized public institutions to support the innovative, entrepreneurial and investment private sector activities that are needed to stimulate national export sectors. May these alliances grow into Smart Partnerships in the interest of us all. In business, we promote the partnership between the Entrepreneur, the Technician and the Manager. The Entrepreneur provides the visionary and creative talent. The Technician gets things done. The Manager recognises that when the science of management (planning, organising, staffing, leadership and monitoring & control) is used to shepherd the entrepreneur around the pillars of a business (marketing, operations, people and money) then we mitigate the risk of business failure. The power of these Smart Partnerships will restore us to economic sustainability, one enterprise after another. Socially, we have legal and common law marriages which constitute the family unit which in turn constitutes the nucleus of society. The Smarter these Partnerships the more stable the society’s foundation. Generally, there is a phrase, “conflict of interest” which I find is overused and often serves as a shield for decision makers to hide behind when faced with making difficult decisions. My concern is that the rejection of a possible association between individuals because of a real or apparent conflict of interest may in fact result in a sub-optimal decision thus leading to a less than effective solution to a problem. A “conflict of interest” occurs when an individual or organisation has an interest that might compromise their reliability. A conflict of interest exists even if no improper act results from it, and can create an appearance of impropriety that can undermine confidence in the conflicted individual or organization. Conflicts of interest are not limited to professionals. For example, purchasing managers of organizations have a duty to perform their work with loyalty to their employers, thus choosing sellers who offer the best products at the lowest prices, but might be tempted to have the organization buy, from the manager’s sibling, products that are not as good or as cheap. On the other hand the manager’s sibling may have the best cost effective solution, but because of the overuse of the “conflict of interest” syndrome the sibling may be discriminated against. Smart Partnership thinking may often positively replace the need to introduce real or apparent “conflict of interest” thinking.