“We call such leverage points synergy, wherein the whole exceeds the sum of its parts,” Stack says.
While a firm believer in the benefits that can be reaped in partnering with the right person or people, Stack issues a word of caution to her readers and provides a list of seven questions to ask themselves before taking on a prospective partner. All seven questions are formatted to take into account all the necessary considerations that go with making the important decision of partnership:
1. Strategic priorities. Making sure that both potential partners have strategic priorities that align is going to determine the potential for a successful partnership. The better both parties’ missions match up, the more likely they will be able to leverage their partnership in a mutually beneficial manner.
“Don’t expect a slam-dunk, even if it seems that both sides have similar priorities,”
2. Mutual Strengths. Choosing a strategic partner may not mean limiting the choices to organizations that are similar in size. Stack points out that two prospective partners whose businesses are similar in size may not necessarily be off to a good start without any scale-tipping clout to pull from either side.
“If all prospective partners had to be equal in size, we’d have no A-Rods or Oprahs,” Stack says.
“Instead, look for what you can each bring to the table that maximizes everyone’s productivity and profits.”
3. Competition. When both potential partners offer similar products or services but function in separate geographic areas, each partner can leverage the business successfully. Otherwise, the going can get tough.
“You can join the same industry groups, but you can’t expect to partner well with organizations competing for identical resources,” Stack says.
4. Access to pre-established relationships. Leveraging existing relationships is the easiest way to acquire working capital, profits, and influence. Leveraging existing relationships with a new partner can remove a huge hurdle when it comes to building influential relationships from scratch.
5. Mutually beneficial relationships. Making sure a potential business partner’s existing relationships represent the goals of both parties is a critical and sensitive step in determining the suitability of a partnership.
“Take great care in the selection process,” Stack says. “Make sure your prospective partner’s existing relationships represent the type of relationships you’re looking for, and be careful about to whom you introduce your own contacts and clients.
“A bad partner can damage your existing relationships.”
6. Multiply results without increasing workload. In some cases, the right partnership can produce multiple beneficial results without increasing any workload. For instance, if both principals agree to write guest blogs for each other, they have doubled their online visibility without increasing their workload or duplicating content.
“Partners can also share jointly written copy by identifying everyone involved, which multiplies exposure without multiplying your marketing expenses,” Stack says.
7. Exit strategy. Establish an escape strategy in case the relationship turns sour unexpectedly. The strategy should incorporate measures to minimize any potential damage that could result from an unexpected split. It should include a plan for safely and fairly dissolving the partnership if the need should arise
“We all know the value of teamwork, but many organizations fail to consider opportunities outside the immediate family (so to speak),” Stack says. “Rather than go it alone, consider developing ties with organizations independent of yours.
“Just proceed carefully. Poorly considered partnerships can end disastrously, while on the other hand, a good partnership, properly leveraged, can benefit you in ways you’ve never before experienced.”
For information on leveraging partnerships, visit http://www.TheProductivityPro.com website, Email Laura@TheProductivityPro.com, or call 303-471-7401.
About Laura Stack:
Laura Stack is a time management and productivity expert who has been speaking and writing about human potential and peak performance since 1992. She has implemented employee productivity improvement programs at Wal-Mart, Cisco Systems, UBS, Aramark, and Bank of America. Stack presents keynotes and seminars internationally for leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople, and professional services firms on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in the workplace.
The president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management firm specializing in high-stress environments, Stack is the bestselling author of five books: “What to do When There’s Too Much to do” (2012); “SuperCompetent”