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Producing high-performing partnerships: three strategies for successful cultural alignment

As my colleague, Katie Kelly, explored in her article ‘Empowering sustainable energy: the role of behaviour and culture change in the energy transition’, an alignment of cultures between energy partners is the key to unlocking a sustainable energy future. Partnerships in the energy industry bring immense opportunity for acceleration towards net zero. But to maximise the benefits of the partnership, partners need to be aligned culturally. 

Often, partners begin with differing cultures which, left unchecked, can lead to inefficient working practices and tensions in the team. Building aligned cultures between partners is a challenge in itself. We believe there are three core strategies at the heart of nurturing an aligned culture.  

"Creating forums for open discussion and for the wider team to raise questions with the leadership is critical in building a trusting environment."

Clearly defined objectives 

When partnering organisations first join together, it’s often easy for colleagues to note the differences between the teams, rather than the common values and goals that can join the two teams together. Having clearly defined objectives based on this shared vision provides a goal to galvanize both organisations.  

Producing a vision statement for the partnership is a useful way to communicate this shared goal. It should be created in conjunction with colleagues from both organisations, with input from all departments, leadership, and the wider team. This statement should outline not just the technical objective of the partnership, but should also convey how the objective will be achieved and what success looks like.  

Leadership commitment 

Culture is notoriously difficult to influence; it takes careful planning, conscious effort, and creative techniques. For change to happen, leaders need to demonstrate their full commitment. Successful cultural alignment is not possible unless leadership ensure it is a priority, insist that colleagues contribute to cultural alignment initiatives, and support colleagues to have the capacity to do so properly.  

Leaders set the tone for the team. They must communicate the importance of cultural alignment and the expectations on the team to adopt new ways of working that match the cultural vision. 

Communication and transparency 

When two or more organisations form a partnership, the success of the partnership relies on continuous, coherent, open communication.  

A common barrier to aligned cultures and effective working is a mistrust that grows when teams view partnerships as “them and us”, and when partners feel that the other organisation isn’t sharing all the information. Breaking down siloes with open and transparent communication is critical to building trust and a collaborative approach. Sharing knowledge between the two partners and being transparent with decision-making leads to better collaboration, more innovative ideas and efficient working practices. 

It is important to establish as many shared channels for communication as possible both in person and digitally. Bringing colleagues across the partnership together regularly, sharing the same messages across the team and communicating consistently will all help create alignment. Creating forums for open discussion and for the wider team to raise questions with the leadership is critical in building a trusting environment. 


Aligning cultures takes effort and determination but, with clear objectives, leadership commitment, and transparent communication, it leads to high-performing partnerships. The energy transition relies on successful partnerships, and it is more important than ever that organisations adopt these strategies for success. 

Noa Rogers

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Noa Rogers


Noa is an Oaklin Consultant with varied experience across culture and change management, project management and digital transformation. She has worked with clients across the public sector, energy and utilities, and financial services.

Recently, Noa has facilitated a cultural integration workstream in the energy and utilities sector. Her diligence, creativity and passion for supporting clients through change has helped to build a stronger, more aligned team, providing the foundations for effective working practices