After a year full of surprises, a sense of apprehension towards 2017 is in the air. Brexit and the intense US presidential election are frequently cited as examples of deep-rooted social divisions, while continuing uncertainty regarding the oil price recovery rather dampens the economic outlook.
However, focusing only on our differences is one-sided, and ignores the enormous amount of potential that can be gained from bridging the divide. In this, our third issue of INSITE, we argue that in these difficult times one of the best ways to grow and develop is through partnerships. As our cover story (page 10) explains, it is exactly in environments where competition is most fierce that partnerships function best and reward those brave enough to trust in them. In Man of the People (page 20), Solvay’s Global Director of Manufacturing Excellence, Jean-Marc Chamberland, sheds some light on how collaborating with teams in Excellence programs is key to achieving full potential and dramatically improving performance. As Frank-Uwe Hess highlights in his article on page 8 (Control is Good, Trust is Better!), longterm success is best accomplished through cooperation – ideally grounded in trust and fairness on both sides.
Regardless of how the next year unfolds, we think that there has never been a better time for managers to think about how partnerships can help them move forward. We might take our cue from the humble clownfish, whose notorious symbiotic relationship with the sea anemone prevents it from succumbing to the latter’s stinging tentacles. Indeed, the clownfish is not naturally immune to the stings; instead, when it finds the right anemone, it persists until both sides form a mutually beneficial bond and they protect each other from predators. Food for thought, perhaps.