But usually what people mean by it is actually collaboration.
And most collaborations I see are more one way “here’s how you can help us, let’s try and work out a benefit for you, too” approaches.
This is surely wrong. But uneven deal proposals seem wedded into the human psyche.
We need to do something about that.
Seth Godin puts it well today:
“…dialogue leads to connection, which leads to trust which leads to engagement”
Read more about what he means, here.
So next time you think “let’s partner with them”, try saying “let’s talk with them, for possible mutual benefit”.
It may well be a more productive paradigm.