Unlocking the Power of Partnerships
“It takes a village…” We’ve all heard this proverb used in reference to child rearing. It advocates for collaboration, in the spirit that one cannot accomplish monumental tasks solo. Applied to the world of business, this concept is encapsulated in growth strategy. Instead of going it alone and investing in all the capabilities that are needed to accomplish a growth plan, strategic alliances can result in one + one equaling much more than two, if structured and managed correctly.
Here at Faith Technologies, we recognize the power that partnerships can bring to accelerate growth and innovation, reduce risk and boost operational and capital efficiency. Here are some strategies that we employ to maximize the power of our partnerships.
- Start With Why. Before starting to evaluate potential partners, be very clear on what your motivations and reasons are. List out the goals, be they downstream sales growth, upstream technology objectives, operations costs reduction or new market entry. For each of those objectives, list out core competencies that need to be present. Now you have the minimum qualifiers to create your potential partner list.
- Partner Selection. Alignment of partner companies’ core values and cultures underpins the success of any long-term alliance – don’t underestimate the impact of cultural fit! It’s important to select a partner that you can grow with, and that is committed to changing with you. That may mean they are not the perfect option today. A good partner will see their company playing a role in your vision of the future and see your role in theirs. A good strategic partner is one that has capabilities and skills that complement your own. Trust is a big factor as both companies have to be very honest about their intentions and commit to short-term costs to yield long-term gains. A good alliance creates win-win opportunities for both parties.
- Common Vision Creation & Goal Setting. Once you have selected a partner, it’s time to create the vision and mission for the alliance. It’s important to have organization leaders participate in this effort to ensure all business objectives are being considered. Be brutally honest in sharing what motivations each partner has, and what the expectations are from the partnership and from each other. Conduct an alliance SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to design strategies that build on collective strengths to overcome competitor threats and take advantage of market opportunities. Discuss what success looks like in several time periods and decide what key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics will be used to track progress.
- Resources & Accountability. Once your targets have been set, it’s time to plan the operations resources needed to support those goals. Plan for dedicated staff to be responsible for achieving targets and set the expectation with all supporting employees. Align on what the most impactful initiatives are to achieve the targets, and set leading indicators to ensure that behaviors and actions that will result in the target KPIs happen on a regular basis. Set up recurring meetings with the alliance leadership team to report on metrics and discuss roadblocks or changes that need to be made in the strategy based on current market changes.
- Celebrations. A final key to successful partnerships is to celebrate the wins and promote each other in internal meetings. This sets the expectation and helps to build stronger relationships at all levels within the organization. Celebrating wins together lowers barriers and fosters an environment where organic integration can happen.
How do you maximize the power of your partnerships?