I recently had the opportunity to exchange ideas with a group of Ontario CEOs at the annual Wisdom Exchange conference. My topic at the conference was “Fast Tracking Partnerships”.
I’ve noticed that many organizations today are seeking to establish partnerships but sometimes find that intentions can get stalled as the players work to agree on what the partnership is about and why it may be worth putting effort into maintaining it. During the Wisdom Exchange workshop the conversation quickly revealed that the word “partnership” is often used interchangeably with “relationship.” This is interesting because I have always thought that not all business relationships are partnerships but all partnerships have a worthwhile relationship at their heart.
My premise is that a partnership that is worth the effort has two key characteristics:
- there must be an exchange of meaningful value between each partner, and
- this exchange must occur without violating the business principles of any of the partners.
Sounds simple. And it is, but it can also take some time to talk through each element in tangible terms for each partner.
During the workshop, I offered up three questions that anyone can use in just a few minutes to size up a potential partnership. First, ask yourself the questions. If the answers to all three questions seem to provide what you are looking for, then the partnership may be a go. If so, then get together with the other partner(s) and discuss everyone’s specific answers to the questions. This type of focused conversation and a few follow through steps can put a partnership on the fast track to achieving results.
In our experience, we have found that both small businesses and massive corporations can use this template to make a “go/no-go” decision on a partnership, and to speed a useful partnership towards meaningful results.
Given the intended outcome of the partnership, the three key questions are:
- What value is each partner seeking from the others as a result of the partnership?
- What value will each partner offer to the others as a result of the partnership?
- What cannot change or be compromised as a result of the partnership?
To help you get started, download :
- a one pager that explains the The steps to fast-tracking partnerships; and
- a blank assessment template.
I hope you find it useful. I would love to hear your stories on how you found this tool helpful.