Powering the Future: High-Performance Partnerships

April 2003 - The National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy), from 2002 to 2003, explored a model that held tremendous promise for meeting today’s challenges and achieving significant long-term results: the high-performance cross-sector partnership.

This effort demonstrated how the sectors, working together, can more effectively serve the public. It also showed that customer satisfaction, performance measurement, and accountability were more than buzzwords.

This report drew on the experiences of ten cross-sector partnerships—some well established and others newly created. The Academy brought them together in “design labs” where practitioners, citizens, and other key stakeholders shared their knowledge and experiences. These partnerships were specifically selected because of their diverse structure, scope, maturity, service responsibilities, operating environments, and geographic location.

Key Findings

This report identified the characteristics of a high-performance partnership and how the approach differs from more traditional cross-sector relationships. It described how a high-performance partnership works in practice and why many communities are striving to implement one. Through this effort, public, nonprofit, and civic organizations can achieve better and more collaborative outcomes in the delivery of public services.