Do you have the right partner?
A partnership means different things to different people, but there’s always a common thread in the definition: it’s a special type of relationship that requires sharing responsibility for a desired outcome.
We spend a lot of time assessing and choosing and reassessing partners on a personal level. We keep constant track of our relationships, the actions and emotions associated with them and whether we think they are working for us. Books, movies and blogs abound on how to assess, choose and maintain healthy personal partnerships.
Sadly, partnerships on a business level are not treated with the same intense focus. In business, companies choose partners for the same fundamental reason – to share responsibility for a desired outcome. Partnerships are created to gain expertise not available or effective to build internally with the understanding that both “partners” share responsibility for results and both parties mutually benefit.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a way to measure them?
We have an assessment that will help prevent frustration of working with the wrong partner, and ensure your current partnerships are the right ones for your company!
A partner is not a vendor. A partner is not a supplier. A partner is not just another customer. A partnership is a different type of relationship. It’s a commitment to work together in a way that benefits both organizations and helps both companies grow. And it needs to work – continuously.
There are three types of relationships we can have with our partners; competitive, cooperative and collaborative. Pictured here is our relationship pyramid to help solidify the concept.
Each of these types of relationships differs based on the extent to which needs (ours and our partner’s) are perceived to be in alignment.
At the bottom of the pyramid is what we call a Competitive relationship (this relationship is win/lose). A competitive relationship is subordinate by nature. In this subordinate vendor relationship, we “win” at the expense of the other party. An example of a competitive relationship is when a customer buys solely based on price.
As we move up the pyramid to the middle section, we are in what we call a Cooperative relationship (or a win-win relationship). A cooperative relationship is supportive by nature. Both parties' needs are not conflicting; rather they are compatible. These relationships are focused on fairness and equity. It is win-win. The more that one party gains, the more the other gains. The key to building a cooperative relationship is to continually find ways to add value.
Collaborative relationship is the very top and what all partnership should strive for. This is also win/win, however, you are so closely aligned that you act as one organization. In a collaborative relationship, you work in a joint or shared manner to get the optimal return on the relationship. You have not only earned the position of trusted advisor but also strategic thought partner. These relationships are few and far between. Most organizations have only one or two of these deep relationships.
It takes focus and investment on the part of both parties and it may surprise you, but relationship strength can be measured. The following assessment will give you a sense of how well your partnerships are working. Download Assessment
At Butler Street, we know that strong partnerships are the key to any company’s results. We can teach you how to become a great partner and also how to choose great partners. Our Strategic Account Selling and Key Account Management tools and training are built to drive growth in your most important relationships. We’d love to help you measure and strengthen your partnerships so you can answer YES to the question – Do I have the right partner?