Thinking about core competencies and how they impact our life is interesting. Sales skills, problem solving, leadership, business acumen, planning, and organization are some of the key traits of being a successful person. All of these qualities are important factors to being successful in any business and everyday family life. It is important to point out that a person’s experiences build their core competencies over time. One of the elements I want to discuss today is partnership. What does it mean? How does it work? What barriers need to be overcome? What does success look like? Is there a methodology for developing a partnership? Many people do not understand that having strong partnership skills is a vital element of being successful. My objective is to touch all these points to success as I walk you through my thought process.
According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of a partnership is “a relationship between individuals and groups that is characterized by mutual cooperation and responsibility, as for the achievement of a specified goal.” Partnerships are critical to business success and personal prosperity. In most businesses, collaborating with both internal and external parties will determine success. What I have learned is there is never a single course of action when making a business decision. It is imperative to keep an open mind and to consider different points of view. This is often a difficult task because people are more concerned with getting credit or recognition rather than partnering together to develop a better solution. When it comes to business, it is not the time to think about you, but it is the time to practice working as a team. Disagreements and tension are key elements to building trust in a partnership which fundamentally is the most important component.
For me, I first learned about the importance of partnership through competitive sports. If you think about it, playing sports is about learning how to compete and striving to win. I learned that working together for a single goal was the toughest element of sports, but also the most rewarding. This is the same for business, as the hurdles for partnership can be difficult to overcome. However, the reward makes the process that much easier to stay on task. Below, is a methodology I have developed, that centers on bringing people and organizations together.
Step 1: Discover
- Team defines the key goals by determining how the partnership should work.
- Team brainstorms as a group to create ideas on how to put the proper framework in place.
- The final stage of the discovery phase, is defining roles and responsibilities for alignment purposes.
Step 2: Develop
- Team starts to put specific actions in place around the partnership objective.
- These actions start laying out the areas of focus and how to win by developing a partnership.
- Leverage the group to define the risk and responsibilities involved in the plan.
- Part of the group builds out a key deck capturing the methodology and specific opportunities.
- Documenting the plan is a key element of a successful partnership. This provides a roadmap to track progress against the key milestones.
- The final step of the develop phase is to cross collaborate review for an alignment before moving into the execution phase.
Step 3: Execute Partnership
- Goals and objectives are set and agreed to.
- Create the internal or external presentation for kick off purposes.
- Sell, Sell, Sell!
As you think about your professional and personal relationships going forward, I would suggest you look at things differently. Specifically, evaluate your perspective on what partnership means to you. The meanings and applications are different to each individual, which is completely fine. The main take away is to make sure to incorporate a partnership mentality into your everyday life. The benefits, rewards, and relationships built by this way of thinking will open up your eyes to new ideas and new learnings. This will reinforce the relationship you have and lead you to new opportunities in the future.
*Vice President of Sales, Walmart & Sam’s Club – MGA Entertainment
*Title and company of the author reflect their position at the time article was written.
The opinions expressed here by guest bloggers are their own, not necessarily those of Stout Executive Search.