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4 Elements of a Successful Partnership

April 19, 2017

“Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs

Some of the business world’s best success stories are reached by two or more entities forging a partnership to evolve their organization into something more or to fill a need. When you look to enter a new partnership or gauge how well existing business relationships are performing, what is your consideration process? Based on our 20+ years of business, our RISE team has a few pointers on what creates a successful partnership.

Shared Values
It’s important that two entities entering a partnership share the same values. This similarity in vision and values will be crucial when coming together to make tough decisions or resolve difficult situations. These shared values can help to guide behavior and influence business practices. If your partner has drastically different standards of business, morals or behaviors, finding common ground, especially in a crisis or challenge, will prove to be incredibly difficult if not impossible.

Mutual Commitment
Each member must be equally dedicated to the goal and put in an equal share of the effort and responsibility. When all members feel the others are carrying their portion of the load, the journey to your shared end goal becomes much easier to successfully complete. Think of it like a three-legged race. In a business partnership, you’re two racers tied together and expected to run the race in unison. When both members are working in lock step and putting in equal speed, endurance and effort, they’ll successfully cross the finish line. When even one racer is not committed to working in unison to complete the race, the team will stumble and fall.

partnership example

Clear Expectations
As Jack Kinder Jr. says, “High achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectations.” This is an incredibly impactful frame of mind to subscribe to. Partners should agree on expectations, put them in writing and revisit them as often as needed. Taking the time to communication these expectations, roles and responsibilities at the onset of the partnership provides the necessary structure and guidance to make decisions and manage the expectations of future outcomes. Furthermore, when a partner doesn’t have clarity on what’s expected of them, they have no framework to meet or exceed your expectations. What you may feel to be a failure to commit may be a misunderstanding of expectations. Setting expectations up front allows each party to do their best work, or if clearly set expectations are not met, quickly and easily provides each partner the clarity needed to make the decision to move on from a partnership that is not mutually beneficial.

Pooled Resources
Each partner must obtain and bring to the partnership the key resources that the partnership will need and that full under their area of responsibility set within the expectation phase outlined above. This will not only allow you to operate more efficiently but will offer the partnership a competitive advantage in the marketplace. After all, the entire purpose of any partnership is to be stronger together.

Do you bring these elements to your partnerships, and/or do you expect them of your partners? Considering your own value and the value of your selected partners is crucial to the success and future of your organization.