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9 Essentials of a Successful Partnership Relationship

Today I'm delighted to bring you a guest blog-post from author and managerial master-mind Dr Colin Thompson. Colin and I met at a conference in Barcelona a few years ago where we were both speaking. Now, over to Dr Colin Thompson:

The cornerstones and foundation for building a successful team becomes dependent upon the integrity and personalities of the people involved This is why it is so critical to take the time to carefully explore the way forward.

Once a solid foundation exists for the relationship, the careful design of the elements that will form the structure of the partnership becomes critical.

Now I would like to take you on to these critical partnership steps, one by one;

  1. Common Objectives

    As in all team activities, the common objectives need to be clearly defined and understood by each participant. Partners should know their responsibilities to the partner and what the other expectations are.

  2. On-going

    A solid relationship will be refined over time. The partners do not rest on past successes, but strive to improve the quality of the partnership. Over time, a closeness should develop that will allow companies in the partnership to maximise their operating efficiencies. A continuing review and follow up process must be taken seriously by all parties concerned, with an eye towards long-term growth and profits.

  3. Commitment and Resources

    All parties must make commitments of employee time, skills and finances. These commitments cannot be lopsided. The `gives and gets` must benefit all the parties equally.

  4. Requirement Defined

    What is required from each partner, must be clearly defined and agreed upon by all parties. Careful consideration must be given as to what exactly will be required in return for each benefit. Agreements to these requirements do little good, without a clearly spelt out performance review process. The agreements should also detail communication channels and procedures.

  5. Commitment to Share Information

    Mis-information, incomplete information, exaggerated claims and false promises are all breaches of faith. In a true partnership, each partner is committed to providing the other with full and complete information on plans, progress and problems. Critical to the partnering concept is the teamwork needed to develop new concepts, new marketing campaigns and new employee training programmes.

  6. Shared Risks

    It is un-realistic to expect that a partnering relationship does not carry risks and that some of the programmes of development within the partnership may fail, or have longer payback periods than anticipated. Quality controlled problems (issues) may occur, and employee turnover may cause temporary setbacks. Partners must have a clear understanding that risk taking is present, and each must be willing to support the other, for the mutual benefits of the partnership. Procedures must be agreed upon from the beginning. On how to handle exceptions and problems (issues) as they arise. Any financial risks involved must be clearly delineated and agreements must be reached on how those risks may be shared.

  7. Mutual Profit

    If the partners share the risks of the partnership, then they should also share the profits. Partnerships are established for mutual profits. Problems (issues) arise, though, when the process to obtain the growth and profits has not been defined and the measurement tools have not been installed to monitor each other’s performance. All cost savings and cost avoidance that occur from the implementation of the plans of the agreement which should be shared.

  8. Technology Exchange

    One of the greatest benefits partners can have is achieved by bringing information to each other. Example: The manufacture must be able to rely on the specialist for feed back on the changing needs of the customer. The specialist must be prepared to keep abreast of how technology is changing the office environment and to work with the manufacturer on modifying existing products or creating new products suited for use with new technologies, The specialist must become a part of the manufacturing/customer design team.

    A joint effort, helps to ensure that the product is what the customer needs, and that the quality will meet, or exceed expectations.

    The exchange of technology information can also enhance the training process for partnering companies. The manufacturer who has installed new equipment can provide the specialists employees with an understanding of how improvements to products can be made using the new technology. Product ideas can flow from this type of exchange.

  9. Don’t Compete

Partners cannot form a solid relationship if they work too closely to each other’s competitors, or if they compete directly with each other. In the `Print Management Service` industry a specialist needs several partners, because one manufacturer is unable to produce all the products a specialist sales team requires.

However, a partnering relationship cannot be sound, if the specialist ` Print Management Service` company relationships with several manufactures that essentially produce the same products. This puts the relationship back to the bid/buy level of purchasing.


The partnership process cannot be developed overnight. Rushing into these arrangements can result in a great deal of harm to all parties. Each agreement needs to be considered on its own merits and carefully built upon one block at a time.

One strong working relationship should be used as a model upon which to build others, in the future. It stands to reason, therefore, that the selection of the first partner is most critical. The time and effort extended in the selection process should not be short changed.

Partnership sourcing is not a rigid management technique, but all its variations have one tenet, customers and supplies are in the same business – to make a net profit they should be working together. Why should there be a loser in a trading agreement?

Partnership sourcing is both radical and plain good sense. It is already helping businesses of all sizes reach world class capability and competitiveness; it is a potent combination – and one necessary for survival in today’s business climate.

Grow your business with the `right` people who understand the `Partnering` process.

Our goal is:
  • Changing Limited People into Limitless People
  • Turning Limited Companies into Limitless Companies
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