So often in business there appears to be an expectation that one party maintains the balance of power. However, this all too frequently results in one side bearing the brunt of the workload, often without the guidance to produce exceptional results. Thus, these imbalanced business relationships can come at the cost of the reciprocal value being realized.
I am fortunate to work with a business that understands that we have choice in terms of who we do business with and places partnership and mutual respect at the forefront of what we do. This in turn enables me to produce the best results I can for myself, my clients, and the business I work for.
In all my years of experience in business, I attribute the success I have personally achieved – and of the businesses I have worked with – to the following recipe:
1. Be clear about mutual objectives and how you will evaluate key milestones being achieved
This is so crucial. If the party you’re engaging doesn’t know where you want to go, then you’ll likely end up with a result you don’t want. While there are some things you should leave to the experts, only you know what you want to achieve. Passing a task on without providing a brief of some kind sets both parties up for failure, and will only result in wasted costs, time, and effort.
2. Seek to understand first and be understood second – Take a real interest in each other’s business and be prepared to share information and invest time.
Just like working with your internal team, understanding skillsets is crucial to extracting value. Before you start working with a business, come to an understanding of what they do, how they do it, where their strengths and weaknesses are, and what they need. When you know this, you can start to assess your own approach, and how you can best add value with your skills.
3. Recognise that pricing and value are two different things
As the old saying goes; buy right, buy once! If you need to spend more to get the value that you need, then in the long run, it’s worth it.
4. Have open and honest lines of communication, find comfort in the ‘hard to have’ conversations’ as they build trust and help to move through any perceived barriers and resolve any bumps in the road.
The most important thing about any partnership is trust. If this trust doesn’t exist, there will always be trepidation, which feeds into anxiety and doubt around the relationship and the aptitude of the parties involved. Instead of letting doubt permeate your business partnerships, embrace conversations that might seem difficult – generally, they’re necessary. By removing these barriers, you will build productive partnerships and drive mutual results.
5. Regularly review and reflect together on work is going well, what needs to change and what you should do more of to achieve value and outcomes.
Regularly reviewing progress is key to creating better outcomes for the future. After completing a project or assignment, come together and talk about the experience you both had; what worked well, what didn’t work well, and how you might work to improve these in the future. Continuous improvement is the foundation for long-term success. Becoming complacent and not developing your approach is an easy trap to fall into, so identify areas for improvement wherever possible and work towards improving them every step of the way.
6. Celebrate together – acknowledge success along the journey.
When you are successful, there’s no harm in acknowledging that fact, and celebrating your wins can actually help to build even stronger partnerships. Even small things, like sending over a bottle of wine after a successful project, can go a long way in creating a positive atmosphere and encouraging greater co-operation in the future.
Business partnerships are always unique and no two are the same. Like people, every business is different, and even the most unusual pairings can produce great results! However, keep in mind that a partnership is exactly that – a partnership. These relationships are two way streets, and both parties need to put in the required effort to realise results and constantly move the relationship forward.
If you’re looking to build an enduring and value based partnership to assist with your recruitment needs, contact me today.