Julie Mundy

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  • Julie Mundy
    Keymaster

    Fantastic challenge here, Arthi and so great you are really pushing your own thinking on this Anthony. I have been doing some work with the Dept of Ag, Water and Envrionment over the past few years and they have really been grappling wiht similar issues to you – I am happy to put you in touch with their Partnering Unit if interested – perhaps just email me: juliepmundy@gmail.com. But there are a number of government agencies sin Australia who ARE effectively applying a partnering approach where it makes sense, and navigating their way through the contractual/comppliance issues. It’s not business as usual, and sometimes means taking on the systems to get there, but it is being done. Does help if you have leadership who also understand and see the value of working in this way.

    One other flag from me is to genuinely look at which of your engagements really ARE partnerships (ie more than service contract/implementation), and what the Department expects to gain and contribute by working in partnerships versus working more traditionally. there is definitely room for more transactional projects and relationships. the more collaborative approaches take time and effort so they need to deliver value over and above a more traditional approach. More innovative, higher risk, complex and adaptive projects generally have a clear hands down benefit above cost.

    in reply to: Practical suggestions for/examples of ‘holding space’ #7156
    Julie Mundy
    Keymaster

    Thanks Bronwyn – such an honest post! I think you are giving voice to the concerns many of us have (me included in a specific partnership I am working on at the moment!!) that we may ‘open a Pandora’s box’, something which we may be ill equipped to handle, and even derail things if we are not careful. Exploring issues of power between donors and implementing partners for example, where that may be impacting negatively on the partnership outcomes.

    I think what my experience has shown, is that NOT opening the box or holding the space for issues, concerns, voices to emerge, will only do damage (at worst) in the long term for a partnership, and even at best may prevent the most partnership achieving its potential. We’ve talked a lot about ‘smoothing’ in the course, which is something many do even when their gut is telling them to enquire further (questions being a way of holding space). Working through issues or conflict which emerge together as a partnership can be very powerful and really help cement and build trust and motivation in partners.

    When you lack experience or confidence in how powerful and transformative such interventions can be, opting for some structured tools can be a way to help build that confidence and experience, though again, showing some flexibility around the use of time if something really important emerges, rather than shutting it down and moving on, can also show partners that you are using that tool in an authentic way – as long as you ask permission to explore in a little more detail if you have agreed guidelines/times etc.

    I do think we need to think through carefully what we are aiming to achieve for the partnership and its purpose, when making an intervention to address discord or concerns – is it just about little niggles that we all have to learn to live with, or is it something impacting the partnership? Remember too that holding the space is not only about allowing issues to emerge, but often it is about creating space for ideas and voices to be heard that may not otherwise be, and this can often create space for immolation, diverse perspectives and creativity – in fact in my experience that is quite often the outcome of such interventions – and can be a really powerful partnership building tool.

    Charity’s suggestions about providing specific space/time to work through discord, rather than try to add it onto an already busy schedule of a meeting, is I think a sound one, and partly addresses concerns of derailing.

    in reply to: Is connectivity the new equity challenge in partnerships? #7096
    Julie Mundy
    Keymaster

    There are some really terrific insights being shared here – please keep them coming! Just to Arthi’s queries re the hybrid approach – my preference is to have everyone online if possible, as it is just easier to broker and to maintain equity than a hybrid approach, but the reality is I have found myself having to do both. However it does require a very different and must more intentional and structured brokering for it to be successful. Hardest of all is where you just have one person ‘outside’ the room (And I have had a few instance where that one person is me doing the brokering!), as you have noted Arthi – it’s easy for them to be forgotten – and you have already flagged the need to position that person to be seen and heard. It does also require attention to the technology – how will the people not in the room best be able to participate and contribute. In one fairly complex meeting (Also in multiple languages, just to keep it simple – not!), we had me and 2 others dialling in on a big screen, and then each person in the room had individual laptops, connected to zoom, and using headsets so we could all hear properly and see each other’s faces. – this actually worked pretty well (after a disastrous earlier meeting where we just used the big screen and couldn’t see or hear anyone properly). I also had another laptop camera set up in the room so I could see the whole room dynamics in addition to individual faces. It was exhausting, but we got there and have done subsequent similar meetings. I think everyone has to find their own way in terms of what does the specific partnership need, what is the technology you have available, and an open discussion with everyone about the options/constraints/advantages is the way forward. The other thing that online has made us consider more of, is how much more might be able to be done offline entirely.

    in reply to: Is connectivity the new equity challenge in partnerships? #7043
    Julie Mundy
    Keymaster

    That’s actually a really fantastic suggestion, Bronwyn, and good to see that you have made this happen. I can see this could be easily argued for such events, and has given me some food for thought for some of my partnerships as well! Thankyou!

    in reply to: Communication Technology – love it or hate it? #7041
    Julie Mundy
    Keymaster

    Hmmm – I have a love hate relationship with it, and realise how quickly we get comfortable with ‘what we know’. Ease of use for ALL partners is my main goal, but often I have had to help partners navigate around internal constraints and ‘security restrictions’ limiting their ability to use technology that works for their partners. I think it can be a large expression of power in a partnership when one partner dictates the technology used to meet their own needs only. I have certainly been in partnerships where we have had to be really creative and spontaneous about how we connect. Having an agreed Plan B, C and D has been necessary! 🙂

    in reply to: Hello all… #7039
    Julie Mundy
    Keymaster

    Hi Charity – Was great to meet you last week and looking forward to hearing some of your brain burst inspirations this week!!

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