Partnering and collaborating are many times conflated – but in reality, collaborating is about doing and partnering is about building.
When we collaborate we work with others to get something done. When we partner we build a relationship based on mutual goals and work together, both tactically and strategically, to achieve those goals.
While collaboration is incredibly important in the workplace, partnering offers unique benefits.
When you partner with a coworker three things happen:
you move the goals of the organization forward
you advance your personal goals
you build a supportive and lasting business relationship.
Alignment is the cornerstone to success
The key to developing a partnership is to find someone you trust, a person with whom you are properly aligned in meeting your personal goals and the goals of the organization.
Aligning around the same goals, priorities and expectations will set you both up for success. Depending on what you’re trying to accomplish this may take some time to ensure you’re both on the same page and you’re in sync with your organization.
Take the time to brainstorm, communicate and align. Establishing from the outset what you hope to achieve out of the partnership will be the foundation of your success.
When building a partnership with a coworker there really can’t be too much communication. We favor regular check-ins.
Tools such as Slack, Yammer, DropBox, GoogleSuite and Skype keep us connected easily and efficiently. They are wonderful tools that help you communicate and collaborate but they are not the foundation for a partnership.
Share the risk and reward
Peter F. Drucker said, “The greatest change in corporate culture - and the way business is being conducted - may be the accelerated growth of relationships based... on partnership."
In order for a business partnership to succeed and flourish long term, there must be shared risk, resources and rewards. When each of you is putting up time and resources - you’re both invested in the outcome.
We once worked with a woman who was a “black hole.” We spent a great deal of time and energy trying to partner with her but it never worked because she was not willing to invest the time and energy to move from collaborator to partner. She did not share in the risk and so the reward was not there. The partnership never got off the ground. It was a dark place to be.
Building a lasting business partnership is a truly rewarding experience. Over the course of a career these long-standing relationships can be the foundation for advice, support and future opportunities.
Make the effort to begin building business partnerships. Look where ours led!