Partnerships are essential to any business in any industry. Our partners are the lifeblood of our own business and we would venture to say the same is true of you and your customers. As we discussed in part one of this series, the first two steps in building a strong partnership are Open Communication and Clear Expectations. Now, we’ll delve into the last 2 steps to making your good partnerships, great.
- Agree On a Goal. Then Break it Down and Step Up to It
If your eyes are set on the same prize, your partnership will run smoother.
Have you ever tried walking into a strong wind? That’s how a partnership can feel if you don’t share a common goal. You’re trying to move forward, but somehow not getting anywhere.
Often, this can happen when you feel a pressure to accomplish an enormous, long-term goal. By breaking it down and setting smaller, measurable objectives, it can ease the pressure of a daunting larger-than-life project.
One of the most important things to remember in this step is to delegate. You don’t have to do it all, and you shouldn’t do it all (remember Step 2: Pull Your Weight, Not Theirs ). Discuss with your partners what needs to be done and who is going to do it. Make sure you both know who is assigned to what task and check in often to evaluate progress.
- Celebrate Differences and Develop Skills That Complement One Another
Some people think that “compatible” means “the same.” I don’t think so.
In the case of the lion and the mouse, the lion knew what needed to happen, but he didn’t have the ability to do it himself. He needed a different skillset to succeed. If you and your partner only offer the same set of skills, it can create tension and unhealthy competition that can poison the partnership.
On the other hand, if your methods are completely at odds with one another, it can feel like you are working against an opponent, instead of alongside a partner.
The key is to find a healthy balance. The best partners are the ones that complement your strengths, and have the skills to fill in the gaps to help you reach your common goal.
If both you and your partner follow these basic guidelines, chances are the partnership will be a successful one. Not all partnerships, however, are alike and there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Dynamics change, people change, and goals change, but you shouldn’t let this hinder you. Strive to make your partnership one that is self-sustaining and able to evolve. Sure, it entails a bit of work for you on the front end, but I guarantee your business and customer relationships will reap the benefits in the long run.
About the Author
Bryan Reynolds is a Partner Experience Manager at TBI. He provides partners with their initial on-boarding experience and guides them through TBI’s processes and procedures to ensure clear and efficient communication. You can contact Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn here.