Today, more than ever before, leaders around the globe have more and more responsibilities and less and less support. As 720thinkers, we have found that one of our greatest assets is our partnering. This applies to the people and companies that we work with and serve; the communities in which we live and volunteer; the vendors that provide us with such amazing products and services; and yes, even our wonderful families and friends.
BusinessDictionary.com has a great definitions for partnering:
Establishing a long term win-win relationship based on mutual trust and team work, and on sharing both risks and rewards. The objective is to focus on what each party does best, by sharing financial and other resources, and establishing specific roles for each participant.
Let’s break this definition down.
Establishing a long-term win-win relationship – Partnerships are more than a whirlwind romance. Often times, it is not love at first sight. To establish a healthy partnership, we need to be willing to devote considerable thought, time, and energy to collaboration and cooperation. Each individual holds value and adds more value to each situation, commitment, project or venture. The best litmus test for a lasting relationship is how support is readily offered and accepted without question, blame or excuses.
Based on trust – Trust comes in many forms. In healthy partnerships, feedback is honest, timely, direct and delivered and received in a professional manner. It is important to establish clear ground rules and expectations early on and review often. It never hurts to commit in writing fundamental guidelines and revise when and if the situation merits it. These guiding principles, we define as our core values or our multipliers for success. They are
These multipliers are not just given lip service, they are carried out consistently in mutually agreed upon goals and actions.
Teamwork – This means that together ideas, plans and results are exponentially increased because the parties involved add valve to each other; that complementary assets, strengths and talents are maximized and optimized. Here is a great partnership example. One person is great with organization and detail, the other person is great with visualizing the big picture and thinking outside of the box. Individually, they struggle with too little or too much information or too little or too much creativity. Together they produce a fabulous team and generate terrific results.
Sharing risks and rewards – In healthy partnerships, knowing someone has your back when danger and disaster are eminent is a potent and powerful asset. At the same time, there is no greater builder of lasting bonds than sharing victory. It’s is really difficult to celebrate alone.
Focus on what each party does best – Gone are the days of being all things to all people. There is still a lot of truth in the cliché “jack of all trades, master of none.” When we can focus on accentuating our gifts and abilities, rather than continually forcing ourselves into those activities in which we are not interested, or worse, lack capabilities, the outcomes become astonishing. All too often, we stumble through areas that are not our strength. Leveraging our own assets and allowing others to do the same enhances performance and results dramatically.
Sharing resources – In a time where dollars are tight and markets are extremely competitive, this is the most commonly overlooked opportunity for partnering. One of the surest ways to solidify a relationship is to share immediate access to appropriate and valuable resources.
Establishing specific roles – clearly defined responsibilities save time and sanity. When we know our functions, we don’t have to trip over or out-do each other to provide optimal service and offer outstanding quality and value. Strong partnerships are clear on expectations and have established healthy boundaries. This greatly reduces confusion and conflict.
Healthy partnerships build lasting win-win relationships, mutual trust, strong teams, shared risk and rewards, more concentrated focus on ensuring that “the right person is in the right seat on the bus”, resources are shared and roles are clearly defined and assigned. For 720thinkers, that is really powerful.