As a component of our partnering resources, we provide training and consulting services that help individuals and businesses enhance their partnering knowledge and skills. The result? Longer and more successful partnerships.
We do this through validated assessments, onsite workshops with guided exercises, developing partnership governance structure, and coaching and mentoring.
Stephen Dent, creator of the Partnering Intelligence framework, often says “Companies don’t build bridges, people do.”
Effective partnering is essential in today’s rapidly-evolving world. A 2014 CMO study found 85% of organizations rated partnerships as essential or important to their businesses. PWC’s 2017 Annual CEO Survey found that 48% were looking to grow through new strategic alliances. A 2017 Aberdeen study found that partner/channel capable organization shorten their sales cycle by 5.5 times over those that do not.
Without adequate partnering skills, companies are unlikely to be positioned to fully take advantage of their strategic alliances.
But most organizations do not use their partnerships and alliance effectively. Studies show that anywhere from 60% to 80% of them fail to meet their objectives.
Solid partnering skills can be learned, and the Partnering Intelligence framework is a validated structure that helps companies partner more effectively. Like constructing a building, creating a successful partnership requires using a blueprint or model.
The Partnering Intelligence framework has helped some of the worlds’s most successful organizations improve performance, productivity, and effectiveness.
All successful partnerships have three attributes in common:
- They are based on trust
- They are mutually beneficial
- They thrive in an interdependent atmosphere
These three attributes are even more crucial today. This is because the number of partnerships and alliances are multiplying exponentially. Partnerships within or outside of your business are growing, living organisms. And like all living creatures, their survival and success depends a lot on the atmosphere they find themselves in.
All cultures start with the individual, but it is the collection of individuals and how they interact that results in what we call “culture.”
As obvious as that may sound, a partnering culture has a profound impact on the ultimate success of your business. The norms of behavior create boundaries around what you can and cannot do and what’s acceptable and unacceptable in your business. It determines the direction of your human energy, the most powerful energy source any organization has.
Partnering Attributes. The first step in building a partnering culture needs to be taken by the executive leadership. They must move beyond intellectually understanding partnering behaviors into living partnering behaviors. Partnering behaviors are a set of actions that build trust and inspire a sense of vision and confidence in others. We call these six interrelated behaviors the Six Partnering Attributes. When used consistently within the organization, these attributes create the atmosphere that allows the partnering culture to thrive.
To accomplish this, the executives on the team must purposefully decide they are going to behave in an open and trusting manner using the interpersonal skills described in the Six Partnering Attributes and commit to doing so. Then they must hold each other accountable for engaging in the behaviors to which they’ve agreed.
Communication and Collaboration. In addition to helping leadership set good examples, the Six Partnering Attributes help create a language that enables team members to better communicate with each other. Through meaningful dialogue, language is bonded to action. When language and action form a bond, trust is built, sending positive charges through the atmosphere and energizing the culture.
Consequently, when people in a partnering culture talk about working collaboratively and building trust, each member knows what actions he or she must take to meet everyone else’s expectations. Over time, these become behavioral norms that are embedded within the organizational culture itself.
Building a Partnering Infrastructure. The second step in building a partnering culture is to be sure the organization’s infrastructure supports the emerging culture. When the compensation structure, for example, is contradictory to expected behavior, people will do what they are rewarded to do. If you want collaborative behavior, you must balance the reward for both collaborative behavior and individual contribution. If you value trust, you must measure trust and reward it. It’s not difficult, but few organizations have such measurements in place.
Once leadership has achieved personal mastery using the Six Partnering Attributes, and once organizational structures are in place to support the use of these attributes, employees must be trained on using the Six Partnering Attributes to accomplish their tasks. This creates a reinforcing network and embeds the language deeper within the organization. Ultimately, language turns into action, as the norm evolves into the culture of “how we do things around here.”