As I reflected on a series of meetings I attended recently a principle seemed to synthesize in my mind. After meeting with senior leaders of a couple of international organizations I was impressed by the importance of understanding, articulating, and coming to consensus on the critical values that must be preserved if the partnership is to be successful. One way to elicit this information is by asking questions like, "What are the major risks to the ongoing viability of this agreement?" or "What are the critical factors that must be preserved to ensure a sustainable partnership?" As the answers come out look for patterns that indicate the key values that must be preserved (e.g., trust, privacy, communication, interoperation, relevance, etc.)
Armed with this information learn to articulate the goal of the partnership and express the importance of preserving the core values that must be maintained to ensure the ongoing viability and success of the partnership. This shared understanding should serve to mitigate governance creep by focusing the work of policy makers. Any policies or common standards should be aimed on the preservation of these values. There should be a clear linkage between policies and standards back to the goal of the partnership and these core values.