What Successful Public-Private Partnerships Do

Despite spending $2.5 trillion a year on roads, railways, ports, water, and other public infrastructure projects, countries around the world are still falling far short of what they need to invest, according to one estimate. Thus, it’s no surprise that there is renewed interest in public-private partnership (P3) projects, where businesses supplement public investment in return for reaping rewards such as tolls and fees. The White House, for one, suggests using private investments to fund most of its proposed $1.5 trillion in U.S. infrastructure spending.

The Harvard Business Review outlines several suggestions for maximizing success of public-private partnerships.

  1. Striking Personal Commitments Far Beyond the Contract
  2. Hashing Out Differences Authentically
  3. Admitting to and Correcting Setbacks Quickly
  4. Building Better Partnerships

The lessons of what makes the best P3 partnerships work apply to any large initiative in which more than one organization is responsible for its success. The word “partner” truly must connote that “we’re in this together,” a sentiment that no contract can ever convey.

As a U.S.-based manager on a highly successful P3 infrastructure project put it, “Success can be defined as a situation where the project is completed on time and on budget, and with all participants being happy survivors of the experience.” Project leaders who have an explicit plan of how they will meet the project’s goals and keep the working relationships of all parties strong throughout the process have a much higher likelihood of success.

Read more here.

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