Posts

Partnering Alliance Collaboration

Five Partnering Success Articles

Ed Rigsbee was an early author on the topic of partnering success. His first book, “The Art of Partnering” was published in 1994. His second, “Developing Strategic Alliances” was published in 1999, and his third, “PartnerShift” in 2000. He has continued to write on the topic, deliver keynotes and workshops, and consult with corporations and non-profits.


The Art of Partnering by Edwin Richard Rigsbee, published by Kendall/Hunt 1974

The Art of Partnering by Ed Rigsbee

Article #1 of 5

Total Organizational Partnering for Your Success

Are you tired of adversary business relationships draining your energy? If so, it’s time to consider a new way of conducting business. In this, and in future articles, my goal is to share with you the Power of Partnering. Partnering, as I define it, is the process of two or more entities coming together to create synergistic solutions to their mutual challenges. To adopt Total Organizational

Partnering as your management strategy, you’ll need to understand the Partnering Pentad (group of five). To give you a visual, see in your mind a five-leg star and each of the areas below represent a leg.

  1. The Synergistic Alliance is what many consider Partnering and simply stop here. This is the leg of your business where you develop external alliances with others. These could include: purchasing, R&D, manufacturing, employee sharing, distribution, marketing, advertising and the list continues.

By sharing your core strengths with others and theirs with you, both can create an environment of synergy.

  1. Partnering with your suppliers is essential for companies wanting just-in-time manufacturing (JIT) and electronic data interchange (EDI). I frequently here suppliers making this comment about their customers, “They’re talking marriage but acting one night stand.” Whether you’re a dealer, distributor, or manufacturer, you had better start developing long-term relationships.
Developing Strategic Alliances by Ed Rigsbee, published by Crisp Publications 1999

Developing Strategic Alliances by Ed Rigsbee

  1. Partnering with your customers is the leg of outward focus. You must be customer/market driven rather than product/service driven to understand what your customers want. Your customers will spend if they feel they’re receiving good value. This is crucial if you are interested in Integrated Supply.

  2. Partnering with your employees, to many businesses is a non-issue, meaning that they don’t. If you want your employees to have Emotional Ownership in the success of your business, you must create a climate of empowerment for them. Empowerment means giving authority and encouragement.

Then, employees will accept the responsibility.

  1. You, the Owner or Executive as the Optimal Partner. This is the final and arguably, the most important leg. Not from the perspective that all revolves around you, but rather that you determine your company’s culture. The coveted center of the star you are visualizing is reserved for the relationships that bind all the legs of the Partnering Pentad.

Article #2 of 5

The Ten Critical Qualities in Selecting an Alliance Partner

PartnerShift by Ed Rigsbee, published by Wiley & Sons 2000

PartnerShift by Ed Rigsbee

If you think partnering success might be for you, selecting the right alliance partner is generally the difference between alliance failure and success. Be certain your alliance partner exhibits most of the following qualities.

Wants to win. There is no reason to partner with a looser. A weak relationship will only bring you down. You and your partner must have a desire to win, to want to do better, to be useful in creating a synergistic relationship.
Know they are ultimately responsible for their own success. Look for partners who understand the value of synergistic partnering relationships. While accountability goes both ways in partnering, in the end, we are each individually accountable for our own success.
Is an active listener. To keep an alliance healthy, active listening is important. This helps each partner to know what the other needs. Alertness from both sides equals mutual success.
Understands and cares about what drives their partner’s businesses. Each partner must do things that consistently give value to the relationship and their partner. The only way you can effectively add value to your partner’s business is to know what your partner considers valuable.
Responds well to, and acts on feedback. To move forward, leaders must be willing to accept counsel. None of us know it all. Just think how special your partnering relationship would be if your partner never acted on your ideas.
Flexible, especially when events or circumstances are not what was expected. If you, or your partner, don’t have the ability to change direction when the road ahead is washed out, failure is certain.
Trust and integrity. Once the fabric of trust is ripped apart, although it may be repaired, the blemish will always show. You will always have it in your mind that it is not if, but when, they will do it to you again.
Seeks win-win arrangements and solutions. You and your partner must believe that you are working toward a bigger pie, not just a bigger piece of the pie.
Understands that partnering is a relationship of interdependence. It’s not about dependence or independence? Visualize your partner and yourself as partially overlapping circles.
Great chemistry. If you like each other, you’ll work hard to overcome conflict and make your alliance work long-term.
Now grade your potential partner in each area on a 1 to 10 scale, add it up and now you have a baseline potential partner grade. By the way, they should do the same on you. The greater the circles of interest overlap, the greater the value each sees in the relationship.


Article #3 of 5

Partnering Pitfalls, Land Mines & Roadblocks

Alliance mortality rates hover at about half. Be realistic with your expectations of others and your total partnering success. As with a spouse, partnering alliance members don’t change with time. If you suspect core problems at the onset, you probably are accurate in your assessment. Do not try to build relationships on a foundation of quick sand. Watch out and try to avoid the downside of partnering. Let’s look at some partnering killers you’ll want to avoid:

  • Underestimating the complexity of coordinating and integrating corporate resources, and overestimating your partner’s abilities to achieve the end result.
  • Situations where a customer is the driving force behind a partnering arrangement. Be sure to examine each proposal in the context of your company’s overall partnering strategy.
  • Not having access to the employees of your alliance partners. The closer the planned relationship between the two companies, the greater the importance of the linkages between them.
  • When a large company partners with a small, the interaction between companies becomes a challenge. Representatives of the small are usually top executives, but representatives from the giant must take a proposal up the chain of command. This policy can become frustrating for the small company.
  • One partner not completely embracing the principles of partnering at the top level or even in departments, divisions or regions while the other does.
  • Partners have different core values like trust and integrity or there are corporate culture clashes, employee turf protection, and resistance of some employees to new ideas, these issues can wreak havoc.
  • Partners internal reward structure. In partnering with customers or suppliers traditional reward for buyers comes with wringing out concessions from the seller and by showing that their efforts had achieved cost reductions. On the flip side, sellers usually reward for sales performance.
  • Having a third party that is not willing to playing ball. All the members of a partnering agreement will have to “give a little” for the agreement to work.
  • If a partner receives unfavorable media coverage you are pulled into the picture. Real or perceived, image and reputation are critical to a company’s success.

When sitting down at the partnering success table a partner might find the partnering seat uncomfortable. It could be that your partner has a different level of emotional and physical comfort, or sometimes it is simply a change in corporate strategy or a restructuring which leads away from a partner’s product and/or technology causing the partners distress.

After making a partnering success commitment, a partner may have a hidden agenda or decide they don’t like or want to follow through with that which they committed, or does not have the capability to do what is necessary.
Contracts with an overseas market, for instance, often take a long time to finalize. By the time you get going, in the technology industries, your competition may have already started.

There can be difficulty in communicating across various time zones. Solving problems quickly when your partnering factory is located halfway around the world is hard enough when you speak the same language. Add the increased difficulty of language barriers, and major challenges can emanate from the alliance.
The disloyalty that can occur when you try to partner with a potential or current customer and have them renege on the promise of purchasing from you after you have delivered complementary or introductory training.
When unequal dependence in a relationship occurs, the partner with the least dependence could be less likely to compromise and expend energy into the relationship.

Complacency is an insidious partnering success relationship-killer. Continuously ask questions in a way that encourages partners to relate problems and shortcomings. Ask, “What have we not done lately?”
Meanings assigned to words by different cultures can cause serious problems. Does quick delivery mean today, this week, this month or this year?

Unrealistic expectations of any partner’s capabilities these areas include: technology, research, production skills, marketing might, and financial backing.


Article #4 of 5

Shall We Start The Partnering Process?

For partnering success, both external and internal partnering are necessary in developing a complete management strategy. I call this Total Organizational Partnering. The Partnering Pentad (alliances, suppliers, customers, employees, and management) is the conduit, and will assist you to accomplish your partnering goals. Follow these steps to partnering success.

Step 1: Monitor.

Study your business, observe, and identify areas for improvement. Also, take inventory of core strengths that might be valuable to a potential alliance partner. Specifically, define what it is that you want and help others to define what they want and help them to achieve it as quickly as possible. For partnering success, study other industries that have embraced partnering along with the individual companies that have been successful with partnering. Study what worked and what did not.

Step 2: Educate.

Learn about companies you might consider for partnering success arrangements. Look for arrangements that create a win-win result for all who participate. Ask yourself and your management team these questions: What are their strengths and weaknesses? What effect would they have on our business and vice versa? Be sure that the company cultures are complementary and that the people who will be in charge of the relationship can get along.

Step 3: Select.

This is the critical step. All your future efforts will be built on your selection. Search for the strongest alliance members for your partnering success foundation. Customer-oriented culture is critical to the success of the partnering alliance. The greater the sophistication of a company and its officers, the more likely a company will enter into partnering. Keep this in mind when making your selection. Embrace long-term thinking. Partnering is rarely a quick fix, but a sound long-term business strategy. Target companies, large or small, that can aid you in rapidly and efficiently, reaching the goals of research, technology, production and marketing.

Step 4: Organize.

Now you’re to the point of identifying, understanding, and putting together the possibilities for your alliance. Work with internal and external personnel to develop not only your partnering structure, but also your road map. Success in blending of cultures is pivotal. Take great pains to insure this achievement. Access is crucial! Create a convenient communication system for all partners, especially decision makers. Plan procedures to keep relationships between key people of partnering companies open and constantly alive.

Look into the future, plan for the long-term relationship and encourage strategies that will sustain the relationship through to its conclusion. Phasing in the partnering relationship could be a preferred strategy, as this method will allow partners to have a “get acquainted” time. This can assist in the identification of reaching milestones, successfully or identify the need to reassess before moving on to a higher level in the relationship.

Step 5: Charter.

This is the agreement, whether it is a handshake or actual contract. Even so, I strongly urge all partnering alliances to put their agreements on paper. Having each alliance member’s commitment to the other on paper will smooth a path through the potholes of partnering. Also, your charter should explain conflict resolution. Being ready for conflict will make resolution more timely and amiably.

Develop a clear agreement on what your goals are and make sure they are measurable for partnering success. Have a formal mechanism for alliance members to identify the goals, milestones, and turning points crucial to the success of the relationship. Devise some form of evaluation that will measure how well plans have been implemented. Additionally, consider having the partnering agreement include forms of dispute resolution for more formal arrangements, along with exit strategies as partnering safety valves.

Step 6: Post Agreement.

Regularly review your partnering efforts through value updates. Discuss the value you receive, the value you believe your partner receives and vice versa from the relationship. This will help in determining if relationships should be upgraded, maintained, or downgraded. Discuss opportunities for improvement and ways to enhance performance.

What you really want to build is Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) in all five Partnering Pentad areas. Again, this is Total Organizational Partnering. The benefits generally outweigh the pitfalls if you’re careful. The ability to successfully adopt the partnering paradigm philosophy is the first challenge of partnering. And, Partnering is only for the mature.


Article #5 of 5

The Necessary Core Values To Build Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs)

Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs), for partnering success in business are based on the desire to create synergy between multiple entities. Five Partnering Core Values support the foundation of such relationships. To build OSRs, integrate the following five core values into your paradigm of operation and you will experience wizardry for yourself and others!

1. Trust

This is having confidence, reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle of another person or thing. It’s also the glue that binds a relationship. For successful business relationships, trust is necessary to move from inertia to action. Trust is that wonderful, mystical and cherished virtue hoped for and shared among practitioners of what I call the Partnering Paradigm.

In trust, you’re continually putting yourself at risk. It’s the process of taking risks necessary in building relationships. At times you are certain to be disappointed, but hopefully these disappointments will be few, compared to the availability of beneficial experiences.

2. Tolerance & Understanding

It’s unfortunate, but the words tolerance and understanding, have become a cliché that too easily rolls off the tongue in business conversations. For business OSRs to work, this core value must be cherished and practiced by all. When you can accept the value of an idea rather than be concerned by whose inspiration it was conceived, you would truly exhibit tolerance and understanding.

3. Cooperation & Growth

In my relationship seminars, I lead an exercise where several people are standing in a circle, facing center, blindfolded, and holding a rope. Then I tell them to make a square. I use this exercise to show how much more is possible when participants work together rather than separately. This is only possible when they adopt an attitude of cooperation. During the rope exercise, it is always interesting who shows up as the leader to make the square. It’s not always the person who signs the paychecks. Growth is the natural outcropping of this exercise because participants see each other in a new light.

4. Caring & Commitment

Caring about a business relationship is essential in making a commitment to its success. This is what will usually smooth out the potholes on the road to OSRs. It’s this element that allows others to voice their opinion and remain safe from criticism. Additionally, there is also the commitment that is necessary to the function of leadership, and at times, the ability to follow when another is currently leading.

Another important aspect of caring is to welcome and accept responsibility. Rather than saying, “You really should . . .” in OSR building it would be better to say, “This is what I think we need to do.” Then say, “If it is ok with you, I’ll take care of it.” In many businesses, idea people are a-dime a-dozen, but those who can implement are immeasurably valuable.

5. Synergy & Mutuality

OSR building must be an institution of trust, tolerance, understanding, cooperation, growth, caring, and commitment. This results in synergy and mutuality, similar to that of a successful marriage. Business OSRs have much in common with the institution of marriage. Both require all of the above, and both offer benefits that outdistance the possibilities available singularly. Build your OSRs and enjoy the partnering success benefits.


Get even more ideas on partnering success by watching Ed’s interview at the Cisco.

Cooperative Mastermind Alliance

Mastermind Alliances to Further Your Career (895 Words)

Cooperative Mastermind Alliance

Mastermind word cloud hand sphere concept on white background.

John F. Kennedy said, “Lofty words cannot construct an alliance or maintain it; only concrete deeds do that.” Partnering and alliances are the terms used to describe mutually beneficial relationships. Partnering is the business paradigm for the next millennium. Relationships are the corner stone of any successful business. Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) are the conduits for successful business growth. More people in business today should make the smart decision and make daily Relationship Bank Deposits, the concrete deeds Kennedy spoke of in 1963. You must make deposits before you can withdrawal.

Throughout my adult life, people have recommended that I should work harder. Some have suggested I work smarter. My choice is the latter, to work smarter. Business is getting more complex, seemingly by the day. Both you and I should continually seek additional solutions to our daily business challenges. Partnering with others to create alliances for various reasons is my answer to the idea of working smarter.

Develop Your Mastermind Alliance

First on my working smarter list is to develop a personal Mastermind Alliance. Mastermind Alliances, also known as strategic alliances for individual development, can assist you in eclipsing your competition. This holds true for both your career and your enterprise. I belong to a geographical mastermind alliance, called Gold Coast Speakers, which consists of other professional speakers and consultants.

We started meeting early in 1989 and continued to get together about once a month or so. This is a confidential environment where each can share their gifts and receive counsel on important business, career and personal issues. I do not believe I would have survived in my speaking career without this relationship. The members of my mastermind alliance are some very special and giving people. The group consists of not more than a dozen members that are geographically close to one another, this allows us to regularly meet. We rotate from home to home, each member having the opportunity to host a meeting. We make it simply for the host by ordering delivered pizza.

Another mastermind alliance success story is the Downtown Palm Springs, CA breakfast club. A couple years ago I interviewed Tim Ellis, general manager at the Riviera Resort & Racquet Club in Palm Springs. The interview was for an article about Palm Springs’ strategic alliance with other California cities to draw tourists to the state. He told me about his downtown Palm Springs mastermind alliance. It consisted of general managers from seven other deluxe hotels, the convention center director and the owner of the aerial tram. They meet every Wednesday and rotate member locations weekly. They discuss issues uniquely important to the hospitality business in downtown Palm Springs.

I recently spoke with Tim. He is no longer at the Riviera. He started his own company, Lathom Hotels. Tim bought one hotel and leased another. The hotels both feature suites with full kitchens. He started his company to serve a neglected niche in town, long-term retired guests. He told me that much of his success comes from the networking relationships in the breakfast club. He said that he could not have picked up and done the same thing in another town. And yes, he still belongs to the alliance.

Mastermind Alliance Core Values

There are five personal core values that I believe are necessary for your Mastermind Alliance members to possess. They are trust, tolerance/ understanding, cooperation/growth, caring/commitment, and synergy/mutuality. Use these values as your guide when making member selections. Too often I’ve heard people talking marriage but really acting one-night stand. This behavior is what I call cotton candy partnering. Like cotton candy, it looks good and tastes great but disappears in seconds. These are definitely not concrete deeds and not the type of members you’ll want in your Mastermind Alliance. In contrast, integrity partnering is what allows synergistic solutions, the concrete deeds.

Use your group as a sounding board for ideas you might have missed, to uncover unnoticed pitfalls in your plans and various other important areas that offer you value. In the group of which I am a member, we spent an entire year dedicating each meeting to individual members for dealing with their specific issues. Wow! It was powerful to have several people focus their energy and attention to a single member’s issues. Giving energy can be as powerful as receiving it. I learn when I am being helped with my issues and when others are helped with theirs.

To make this kind of alliance relationship valuable for all involved the giving or Relationship Bank deposits must be frequent. Additionally, all the members of the alliance must be committed to the alliance itself. When this happens the alliance becomes a living entity and begins to evolve in it’s own direction. While this might seem odd, I have regularly found it to be true.

Benefits and Pitfalls

Inherent while building Mastermind Alliances, you will notice both benefits and pitfalls. The benefits of alliance relationships usually outweigh the pitfalls. Be careful and methodical in the search for Mastermind Alliance partners and in the elements of which the alliance will operate. Remember Caveat Pars (Partners Beware), as the road to successful alliance partnering has roadblocks, land mines and quicksand pits. Knowing how to select the right alliance partners and making good selections is truly a concrete deed, of which Kennedy spoke. Make your relationship Bank Deposits and you will surely develop Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) with your Mastermind Alliance group members.

Solving Alliance Conflict

Conflict Management & Resolution for Your Partnering Success (679 words)

Solving Alliance ConflictIn times of conflict you can take one of two positions. First the position is that of having your heels dug in and believing you are RIGHT. The second position is where you care enough to understand what is motivating the other person’s behavior. My recommendation, as you might have guessed, is the second.

Just to make a point, I’d like you to think back to the last argument you had with your spouse, parent, child, a friend or in a business situation. Do you see yourself in the argument? Now, I ask you which position did you take?“ The first,” you say? I thought so. If you had taken the position of trying to understand the other’s position, there most likely would not have been an argument. We humans are not perfect. As such, we sometimes we fall into our stuff. At these times we are not the best people we could be. But, it is the person who recognizes that they are in their stuff and makes a new behavior decision that makes a good partner.

You might be thinking, “Thanks for the info, Ed, but why do I have to always be the person who makes the change, the person who makes it works? Why can’t it be the other guy once in a while?” My answer to you is simply that you are the one who figured it out first. Get out of your stuff and, as Nike says, JUST DO IT®.Listed below are some additional tactics to help you resolve conflict.

  • Evaluate your, and your partner’s, conflict management styles. Understanding each other is a great start.
  • Identify and plan strategies to deal with non-productive behaviors before they crop up.
  • Give positive feedback as often as possible so the relationship does not take on a negative tone through only fire fighting interactions.
  • Confront problem situations at once rather than waiting for the situation to escalate.
  • Invite comments from all stakeholders early in every project, especially your alliance partners.
  • Consider using humor and maybe even humility in certain situations.
  • Encourage dissent at a time and place that serves all involved.
  • Review the value of the alliance relationship. Determine how much your circles of interest overlap. Ask if winning this battle will get you closer to an OSR, or further away from it.
  • When you hear something you don’t like, repeat it back in an informational way. See if the message you received was the same as it was intended. Misunderstanding is the root of much conflict.
  • Know your buttons and don’t allow them to be pushed. You have control in this area.
  • Completely listen to what the other guy has to say before you open your mouth. Remember the adage, Listen twice before speaking once. That’s why God gave you two ears and only one mouth.
  • Remember the principle of saving face. In some societies, it is a matter of life or death. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, this is not usually the situation in North America.
  • Keep your ego in check. Be clear on the difference between high self-esteem and high ego. One serves and one does not. Need I say more?
  • Appoint a devil’s advocate and allow them to be involved in projects from the start, all the way through completion. Their job is to be a pain in the neck. It’s not that they are just picking on a certain person or position. This keeps people from taking a dissenting opinion personally.
  • Keep the consequences of your decisions in mind.
  • Value the opinion of others. Focus on the clarity of the water, not the spring from which it flows.

I understand that building Outrageously Successful Relationships can be difficult at times. My best advise for you: Know the value of your relationships. Know where you want the relationships to go and stay on course. Accept that quality Partnering just takes time and effort. Accept that there isn’t any magic–just dedicated implementation.

Keeping Alliance alive and healthy

Keeping Your Alliance Alive & Healthy (892 words)

Keeping Alliance alive and healthyIf every fool wore a crown, we should all be kings. -Welsh Proverb

Let the sword decide after stratagem has failed. -Arabic Proverb

I have heard it said that in an ideal marriage one partner is blind and the other deaf. There may be some wisdom in this old saying. To keep your strategic alliance alive and healthy, each must overlook some of their partner’s misgivings. This chapter, if you heed the advice, will help you to avoid many of the relationship challenges. It will help you keep your alliance relationships on the smooth road to success.

Regardless of how you view the world, (the glass is half-full or half-empty), if you enter into a strategic alliance relationship you must focus on survival of the alliance in good times as well as bad. It can be mutually expensive, in costs, time and emotions to break up an alliance. Your goal is to build Outrageously Successful Relationships (OSRs) with your alliance partners.  If you build relationships that are so successful, neither would ever consider breaking them up.

Your Total Value Package (TVP) that you offer your partner, and your partner offers you, is crucial to the alliance success. When you understand what, your partner needs, and then give it to them, you in return can also ask for extra value.  The best way to do this is through regular Relationship Value Updates (RVUs).  Quarterly RVUs are preferred, but semiannually are acceptable if you are serious about building OSRs.

The idea here is to limit the negative conversations you, or your partner, have about one another when expectations are not met. Unfortunately, unrealistic expectations are common in alliance relationships. Think for just a minute, would you, about the worst boss you’ve ever had. See him or her having one of their famous temper tantrums. You know what I’m talking about, when their face turned bright red and the veins in their neck popped out. See them in your mind’s eye. Now! Here’s the question, is there a chance that boss could have been a decent human being? Your answer, is the conversation you are having with yourself about them. Who knows?  Maybe they were just taught old X Theory management (where one treats their employees like mindless idiots) when they were young and it stayed with them. Your alliance partner and their organization have regular conversations with themselves about you and your organization. You can limit the damage and take care of things early with RVUs.

The most effective way to administer RVUs is for you, and your partner, to (hopefully quarterly) complete the RVU and send it to the other. For alliances of larger organizations and/or with several departments involved, each department should do the same. This will help both sides to understand the conversations that their partners are having with themselves about them. Additionally, when you realize that some of the things you are doing for your partner create high-level value for them and it costs you little, you may be inclined to do more of that. Conversely, when you realize that some of the things you are doing for your partner creates little value for them and costs you a bundle, you’ll quickly cut back in that area.

Relationship Value Update (short form)

1.  The value I believe my company has received from our strategic alliance:

2.  The value I believe you have received from our strategic alliance:

3.  Improvement action steps we plan to take to improve our performance in our alliance relationship.

4.  Improvement action steps we would like to see you take to improve our alliance relationship.

Relationship Value Update (long form)

  1. The value I believe my company has received from our strategic alliance:
  2. Have helped my company’s core competency.
  3. Have created valuable synergies for my company.
  4. Have helped us reduce costs.
  5. Have helped us in reducing duplication of effort.
  6. Innovations discovered with your help.
  7. New markets you have helped us to access.
  8. Competitive situations (both established and emerging competitors) you have helped us to overcome.
  9. Other valuable benefits we have received.
  10. The value I believe you have received from our strategic alliance:
  11. How we have helped your company’s core competency.
  12. How we have created valuable synergies for your company.
  13. How we have helped you reduce your costs.
  14. How we have helped you in reducing duplication of effort.
  15. Innovations we have discovered for you and/or helped you with.
  16. New markets we have helped you to access.
  17. Competitive situations (established and emerging competitors) we have helped you to overcome.
  18. Other valuable benefits we have delivered.
  19. Improvement action steps we plan to take to improve our performance in our alliance relationship.
  1. Improvement action steps we would like to see you take to improve our alliance relationship.

 

In addition to sharing regular value updates with your alliance partner(s), each adhering to a Partnering Code of Conduct will lessen the need for conflict resolution strategies.

 Partnering Code of Conduct

  1. Be the kind of partner with whom, you’d like to partner.
  2. Ethics and morals are important.
  3. Respect others, their beliefs, customs and policies.
  4. Think as a member of both your alliance and your industry.
  5. When in doubt, don’t!

Trust, the Essential Element in Building Outrageously Successful Relationships (597 words)

trust is earned

Trust is the Glue that Binds Relationships

Trust is defined as confidence, reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship, or other sound principle of another person or thing. It’s also the glue that binds an organization together. Just think what you could accomplish with your spouse, business partner, alliance partner, supplier, customer or employee if you absolutely trusted one another.

In the mid-1970s, when I worked in Yosemite National Park, I took up rock climbing. This is a sport in which one quickly builds trust with their climbing buddy. In the hands of my buddy resided my lifeline, a rope that came from around his waist, threaded through a carabineer that was attached to the rock face and tied at the other end to me. While climbing, when I slipped off a rock face and started to plunge, it was my climbing buddy that locked the safety rope tight around his waist, keeping me alive. He determined if I went crashing several hundred or thousand feet onto the granite below or if I were to just dangle in the air a few feet from where I fell. In outrageously successful alliance relationships, you must be able to trust your partner with your business lifeline.

In any Partnering alliance, trust is necessary to move from inertia to action. Trust is that wonderful, mystical and cherished virtue hoped for and shared among practitioners of the Partnering Paradigm. In trust, you’re continually putting yourself at risk. While most would prefer to drink from an emptied wine rather than hemlock bottle, it is the process of taking risks that is necessary to build outrageously successful relationships. At times you are certain to be disappointed, but hopefully these disappointments will be few, compared to the availability of beneficial experiences.

Trust is fragile and not to be mistreated. Jamie Clarke and Alan Hobson are adventurers. On their third attempt (1998), they conquered the summit of Mt. Everest. Prior that trip, they authored a book, The Power of Passion: Achieve Your Own Everests, about their earlier expeditions. A relationship-devastating situation occurred around fundamental expedition leadership and goal decisions that were overlooked before embarking on their 1994 odyssey. Each was dug in, and Jamie made a decision to fill a leadership void that Alan was unwilling to fill. About this Alan later wrote, “the most important element in any relationship—trust. Once trust is lost in any relationship, it is like a mirror struck by a stone. The glass shatters. Although all the tiny pieces can be glued back into position, the mirror always shows the cracks. They run deep and numerous.”

Trust building is a journey rather than a destination. Foster the following behaviors in yourself and look for them in your potential partner(s).

Twenty Trust Building Behaviors

  1. Tell the truth.

  2. Deliver on your promises and expectations of others.

  3. Walk your talk and act with credibility.

  4. Exhibit authenticity and sincerity.

  5. Be a positive roll model.

  6. Welcome responsibility.

  7. Avoid offering excuses.

  8. Present an ethical image.

  9. No Bull!

  10. Avoid gossiping.

  11. Use duct tape on your mouth when necessary.

  12. Be open; inform ahead if you cannot meet deadlines.

  13. Help others to look good.

  14. Treat everybody with respect and dignity.

  15. Be consistent in how you treat others.

  16. Recognize and reinforce performance on others.

  17. Communicate clearly, say what you mean and mean what you say.

  18. Break down barriers by giving everybody a voice.

  19. Be respectful of time, yours and others’.

  20. Follow up regularly and offer helpful recommendations through relationship value updates.