A well written agreement is integral to a successful partnership. When an agreement lacks clarity or provides an unrealistic division of roles and responsibilities, issues may arise in all aspects of managing and operating the site.
Agreements are often created without appropriate expertise or detailed understanding of operations. In some cases, agreements do not exist at all between owners and operators or third parties, leaving everyone involved vulnerable to liability and instability. There are also instances where an agreement exists, but partners do not understand or respect it. It is crucial to establish mutual understanding from the start and build in mechanisms for review and adjustment over time.
Agreements need to be revisited because partnerships inevitably change over time. Perhaps the initial roles envisioned for the partnership are no longer practical for the site, or the status of the property changes, as in the case of a community group taking on operations to save a building from demolition. Having a formal conversation about the relationship agreement provides a context to explore and accommodate changing needs.
Navigating governance in a partnership is complex. Partners must work together to attain common goals through varying lenses, achieving balance between accountability and independence.
Directing a historic site with multiple partners requires coordination of each party’s vision, drawing on shared resources to support development over time.