Structure 15/15:

Talk About International Partnership Programs!

  • Every event is open and free.

  • Every month is a different topic.

  • Every session is 15 followed by 15.

That's 15 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes of conversation.

Topics are taken from my books, where you can learn more.

Sessions will be recorded and posted here for future viewing.


NEXT:  Session 9, December 8, 2021 - Eventbrite RSVP here.


Session 9:
Creating Critical Mass

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

December 8, 2021

Ahoy! Critical mass is the ballast that keeps your partnership program afloat.

​      It's All in the Balance: Creating Critical Mass

As a measure of balance, creating and keeping critical mass is a key to partnership stability and sustainability. What is it? How does it manifest? How do you know when you have it? How can you get it? International partners who can answer these questions have their hands on the tiller for smooth sailing, even in choppy seas. This isn't just physics, it's partnership pragmatics.



Wednesday, 12 pm ET

November 10, 2021

 Partnering starts where you find the sweet spot - and continues when you keep it sweet.


       ​It's All in the Balance:  Finding the Sweet Spot

Can you spot the sweet spot? International partnership programs are voluntary. Partners have to be motivated to join. They need incentives to engage. And they need to see benefits to stay on board. What brings and holds them together is a threshold question - motivations can differ, but you need enough sweet spot to create sustainable collectives. Learn how to spot the sweet spot and help it grow. We'll share some examples.

Series 1 - 2020/21


Session 7:
Consensus Decisions Are Key

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

May 12, 2021

  Here's a thought to contemplate: You have to keep consensus to keep the partnership.


       ​When It Comes to Collectives, Consensus is Key

International partnership programs are based on cooperation. No surprise then that their governing bodies make decisions by consensus in meetings and no objection between meetings. Is it really worth the extra effort to work decisions till everyone is on board? Do partners really understand how this decision making works? You'll be surprised: There is more than meets the eye, more at stake, more nuance, and more benefits, to consensus.


Session 6:

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

April 14, 2021

  It's time to look at donor dynamics and see beyond trust funds to partnerships.


       ​Donor Dynamics in International Partnership Programs

Donors bring the funds, but that is just the start. Donors are partners, and we can let trust funds support partnership programs, not the other way around. How does that work? How do you flip vertical funds flows into horizontal partnering? How do you amplify partnership engagement over trustee services? There is a role for both contracts and structure to get the full symbiosis. It's about much more than the money!


Session 5:

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

March 10 , 2021

  We've been building up to this one: Let's take a look at what I call "synergistic conflicts."


       ​Conflicts vs. Synergies in International Partnership Programs

International partnership programs are replete with "conflicts of interest" (COI) - if that's how you choose to see them. Looked at another way, they may in fact be some of your most valued partnership synergies. Learn to spot the difference, and learn how to handle COIs in a partnership-oriented way. For all you partners who want to maximize your combined efforts, don't let calling something a COI undermine your partnership program!


Session 4:
The Inhouse Partner Custodian Secretariat

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

February 10, 2021

Continuing into 2021 with Structure 15/15, let's celebrate the special role of secretariats:

The Inhouse Partner Custodian Secretariat

Secretariats can make or break international partnership programs. At their best, they are the special sauce. Housed in existing organizations, good secretariat staff learn how to live the in/out duality every day. Embedded in partner organizations, they have lots of functions and can fill in the gaps (the custodial effect). Never underestimate the power of an optimally-placed, well-balanced, inhouse secretariat.


Session 3:
The Full Trustee Is Not the Limited Trustee

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

January 13, 2021

To kick off 2021, Structure 15/15 will take a look at another key and riveting distinction: 

The Full Trustee Is Not the Limited Trustee.

What is the difference, why does it matter, and when is one or the other best? Each modality has its merits, and, as usual, the choice depends on the context. Join us to unpack what it means to be an international fiduciary, how it impacts secretariat and other roles, and how the variations make for a richer (literally!) landscape of international partnership programs.  Good decisions on structure come from informed options.


Session 2: The
Trustee Is Not the Secretariat

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

December 9, 2020

Continuing the Structure 15/15 series, we'll take a look at a key distinction: 

The Trustee Is Not the Secretariat.

Some international partnership programs have only a "trustee," some have only a "secretariat," and some have a generic "administrator." Is there a difference? Does it matter? Yes and yes. The labels don't matter as much as the functions. Join us to learn a few basics on how different roles can be structured and synergized to make partnership programs their most effective best.


Session 1:
Like Rock,
Like Water

Wednesday, 12 pm ET

November 11, 2020

Kicking off the Structure 15/15 series, we start with ancient wisdom: Like rock, like water.


To be fit-for-purpose, international partnership programs have to be contextual.

But contexts change, so they also have to be flexible. And flexibility requires stability because full flexibility without stability is just confusion and complexity.


Tried and true: Create stability through a clear and unifying charter. Treat the charter as an adopted document. Leverage the governing body to embed a degree of easy amendability from the start. This enables living, breathing partnership documentation.