2012 Conference: Wells Fargo — Aligning community partnership portfolios with stakeholder priorities
Much like a corporation manages its investments with a portfolio that is apportioned strategically, corporate/community partnerships should be managed as a strategic portfolio.
In a workshop session with Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship’s Director of Executive Education Billy Brittingham and Wells Fargo Regional President for Arizona Community Banking Pamela Conboy, taking a portfolio approach to relationship management received high emphasis.
A portfolio approach will ensure not only the most efficient and effective use of the organization’s resources, it can also be informed through use of management tools in which the form of relationship and its material priority to the corporation can be detailed and mapped. Organizations can then prioritize and allocate resources for partnerships effectively.
Conboy opened the session by explaining the need to invest in “ourselves, our communities, and our companies.” Wells Fargo seeks to be a good corporate citizen through its partnerships with communities in which it operates, she said. In developing these partnerships, the organization selects those that support and complement its priorities of housing, small business development, and financial literacy.
Although there are many financial portfolio management tools today, few are available for relationships, she added, before turning it over to Brittingham who proceeded to provide a framework for companies looking to align their partnerships with stakeholder issues and priorities. He challenged the group to think of themselves as portfolio managers who make investments and expect to see a return. Corporations should make investments in community partnerships with a measurable return, he advised.
After an energized discussion, Brittingham and Conboy led a group exercise on the necessary tools for Partnership Portfolio Management with attendees discussing how partnerships have changed in recent years.
One member noted the increasing prevalence of community-originated response to need and how this has raised the imperative of partnerships between corporations and communities. Increasingly complex corporate issues also necessitate increased collaboration and stakeholder involvement. The consensus: given these increasing imperatives for community partnerships, it is vital that corporations apportion resources efficiently and using Partnership Portfolio Management tools will ensure efficient use of resources while enhancing effectiveness of the organization’s partnerships.