Everyone is connected, especially in business.  Your organization exists within a complex, adaptive and self-organizing system of interrelated individuals and organizations.  You are nested in a matrix of relationships that affect you, and that you affect every day. Foundations need donors, staff, volunteers, experts and causes to contribute to. Corporations need shareholders, boards, staff, bankers and customers.

As a leader in your organization and community, it is critical that you’re not only aware of your existing relationships, but that you’re prioritizing them based on value.

When you have a clear picture of the relationship resources available to you, you’re better able to leverage them intentionally to achieve your objectives now, and in the future.  Having that kind of certainty, clarity and confidence allows you to be less distracted, confused or hesitant about the value of your stakeholder relationships.

The landscape of partnering is changing. Understanding who you partners are and how they contribute to your overall success is the first step in becoming more intentional and strategic with your partnerships. Creating an Ecosystem Map helps you identify existing and prospective partners that you’re currently aware of and perhaps some you’re unaware of, and the partnerships that you seek as well as the ones you avoid.

Enemies and allies, collaborators and competitors, we will all have to learn how to work together to face the challenges that are bigger than our own individual perspectives.

An ecosystem map is a tool or process that simply maps out the resources and relationships that exist within a defined system.  By organizing your existing and prospective partners you’re better able to increase the potential resources you have access to.

Read the full article about mapping partnership resources by Enette Pauzé at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.