Why would you want a more effective partnership?

Organizations are relying more and more on various kinds of partnerships to grow, streamline their operations and enter new markets. These can be in the form of joint ventures, strategic alliances or simple supplier-customer transactions.  Scant attention has been paid to making these partnerships the best they can be, and too often legal contracts and service level agreements have been the only basis for successful working together.

Contracts and service level agreements are an important foundation to any partnership between organisations.  But if you really want true partnership, where you agree to cooperate to advance your mutual interests in the short and long term, and gain a competitive advantage in your market place, then it’s worth agreeing and monitoring partnership principles that are important to create a mutually beneficial and synergistic partnership that is sustainable for the long term.

Four steps to success:

1.     Develop your partnership principles together

Creating these principles together will build on the trust you already have and any issues that you have can be turned into the positive vision you would like to see

2.     Assess how you are living these principles

By asking everyone involved in the partnership to rate how they see these principles being demonstrated day to day, will enable you to identify the strengths and the challenges you have as partners. Using on line survey tools will enable focus on the top priorities, whether strengths and how you can continue to live them, or the gaps between the ideal principles and current ways of working.

3.     Create actions to address the biggest gaps

Once you have identified and understood the biggest challenges you can develop ideas for how to improve the partnership and create actions to address. You can then turn these into actions that will celebrate your strengths as partners and make sure they continue to be embraced.

4.     Check in on a regular basis looking for continuous improvement

By repeating this exercise on an annual basis, you can continue to enhance the partnership you have.

What return will you get on your time

One organisation I worked with went through this process in a few weeks with very little partnership time allocated to moving through the four steps but with an increased commitment to success.  If you are reliant on your partners for your success, you may be surprised at how some very simple actions can lead to a significant increase in trust and resultant success for both parties.

If you would like to make your partnerships the best they can be, let’s get in touch to see how this could work for you.


Thanks to Neil Shortman for reviewing the article from his perspective as a great partner.