8 Ingredients For A Great Partnership

laurel-and-hardyWhat makes a great partnership? You could hope that it just happens spontaneously, but the truth is it takes dedication and care to nurture a business relationship into something that adds real value.

The basic goal for any partnership is to gain something that wouldn’t have been possible if you were acting alone. Beyond that, the ideal result is a collaboration that’s more than the sum of the parts – an ongoing relationship that keeps on providing real advantages for everyone involved.

Here are some vital ingredients for your partnership-building recipe:

  1. A shared vision – you need to both understand where you’re going with this. It’s surprising how many times partners realise half-way down the line that actually they each had different views on this.
  2. Shared understanding of objectives and inputs. What is each partner putting into this, and what do they expect to get out of it?  These are the risks and rewards.  They’re often not shared 50:50, but so long as each partner’s status is understood, that’s OK.
  3. Good communications at the start.  All that shared understanding means talking.  Should each party have a single point of contact to help achieve this?  It’s also useful for all parties to sit down at the start and talk through some ‘What if?’ scenarios.  What happens if a key person falls ill?  What happens to assets if the partnership dissolves?  This helps to identify and address any assumptions that need correcting.
  4. Good communications throughout.  Keep talking – to share knowledge, manage effectively, and sort out potential issues before they turn into real problems.  The best way to deal with a problem is to stop it developing in the first place.
  5. Planning and project management will help to drive and monitor progress towards the goals.
  6. Flexibility on both sides will help to accommodate any differences in organisational culture and working practices, and help to deal with any surprises that the world throws at your partnership.
  7. Trust and respect will develop if each partner can see the other’s honest efforts to nurture all these characteristics of the partnership – and that makes any relationship easier.
  8. Teamwork.  By taking care of all the partnership ingredients discussed here, you’ll become easy and dependable to work with.  It’s like being a team player in any other context – you should acknowledge the contributions of others, and reliably deliver your own contribution.  This gives you a reputation as a ‘partner of choice’ – the one that people call first when they’re looking for a business partner.

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