The Power of Partnerships

January 28, 2014

Progress. It’s what every organization seeks. It can be measured in increased market share, higher revenues or greater customer or employee satisfaction. But, actually making progress requires strategy, execution, patience and occasionally the willingness to collaborate instead of going it alone.

Take Ohio’s insurance industry for example, which has recently gained significant traction with its unique partnership.

The industry estimates it will need to fill 17,000 industry jobs by 2018 – and, filling that talent pipeline is an undertaking far greater than any of Ohio’s headquartered insurance companies could hope to achieve — or even make a noticeable dent in — on their own. So instead of looking inward, these industry players have entered into a thoughtful collaboration that will benefit all of them

By focusing on the “tide” instead of their individual boats, some important lessons can be learned regardless of the challenge or industry. Here are takeaways we’ve experienced during the inaugural year of the aptly branded Insuring Ohio Futures partnership:, bringing to mind the familiar aphorism – a rising tide lifts all boats.

Identifying allies who have skin in the game.

What’s in it for me?” is what most prospective partners want to know about collaborative efforts. However, what matters most for the good of the partnership requires asking “What can each of us bring to the table?” With vested interests in the industry’s success, the Ohio Insurance Institute; the State of Ohio (including the Departments of Insurance and Veterans’ Services, JobsOhio and the Ohio Board of Regents); and higher education partners are all working collaboratively with Ohio’s insurance companies to raise interest in the industry and the robust employment opportunities insurance creates in the state.

Creating a shared and focused strategy.

By creating a shared strategy, campaign elements such as messaging, identifying key audiences and outreach initiatives are assured to be consistent, regardless of who is delivering the message or the delivery method used to reach each target audience. Consistency is the key to ensuring the strategy and tactics stick.

Leveraging the pipelines.

By aligning with higher education as well as the State of Ohio to reach job seekers such as military veterans, the insurance industry is able to reach target audiences that otherwise would present challenges to engaging on its own.  It also ensures that those most eager for employment opportunities now have ways to quickly and accurately get information that matters to them.

Patience and persistence are prerequisites.

Meaningful results are rarely instantaneous or the result of a so-called “silver bullet.” To use another nautical analogy, the industry today is akin to an ocean liner – it takes time for such a massive vessel to change its course. The same could be said about the perception many have of the insurance industry, even as its future looks bright. It will take time and consistent messaging shared regularly for new perceptions to emerge, but once they are, the image of a vibrant, nimble and highly relevant tech-driven industry isn’t far behind.

Could your industry and your organization benefit from a strategic collaboration? We’d welcome the opportunity to share more about our history of successful coalition and partnership building efforts.

Connect with us:

Sandra W. Harbrecht, President and CEO
877-577-0017 |