Every organization creates transactions. But, great organizations create powerful relationships through the superior value they bring to the table. (author unknown)
With that let’s look at what I’ve defined as the Key Ingredients to Professional Partnering…
- Dreams + Plans = Success
- Consider Ethics, Beliefs and Morals
- Train for Guidelines
- Measure Results
I cannot tell you the number of talented, smart, witty, gifted entrepreneurs I have met with a phenomenal idea but no follow-through … or no capital… or no mentor… no time… no location… etc, etc, etc.
Or worse yet, and the point of this post, is a remarkable idea and absolutely no desire to invest in the powerful partnerships it requires to walk this idea through to success.
I started working when I was 15 1/2 years old. That spring I decided I was done taking vacations with my family and that I would get a job so I could stay home and have some freedom. What happened next might surprise you… I worked for one of the worst managers of my lifetime. Instead of using teachable moments he humiliated me in front of customers. He questioned my logic in front of staff. He had a temper the size of Russia. I learned many valuable lessons while working there.
And somehow I knew instinctively what he did not know about himself yet – he was a good business manager, but a horrible leader.
Needless to say, since then I have worked every job imaginable, working for every style of manager and supervisor out there, working with every type of employee and teammate and under every team structure possible … and much insight has been gained over the years. I’ll share some of that now…
Humor me as we explore why it takes more than a great idea to be successful. As you might guess it also takes a bit of work… and a bit of smarts… and a bit of cooperation… and a bit of luck… some great partners… and the right perspective!
Let’s look at the key ingredients for successful professional partnerships:
#1 – Your level of Success is determined by your Standards
Let’s explore what the most important relationship is in our partnerships: Leadership? Competent and reliable staff/team? Faithful and loyal customers? Vendors?
I would suggest that the correct answer is “All of the above”.
Without any one of these you will not have the other… ok, maybe for a short time. But in the long run, your customers and staff will not stick around if they see leadership bickering. Your customers will not stick around if the staff is complaining about leadership. Your customers will not return if you are no longer providing what they need (meaning, if your vendors are not “delivering on their promises”).
To effectively partner, I would suggest the importance of first taking a step back and doing the following:
- Dream. Write down your dreams, mission/vision statements.
- Plan. Estimate your short- and long-term goals.
- Estimate and write down your staffing needs.
- Determine your best practices: customer service standards, vendor standards, employee training, supervision training, communication standards, etc.
#2 – Ethics, morals and beliefs
When drafting and deciding on your mission / vision consider how your ethics will play into your plan. Or IF they will. And how determined and willing you are to stand behind those ethics under fire. Do not hesitate to ask your partners to stand with you in this decision.
Some individuals are determined to keep their personal perspective / ethics / morals completely separate of how they run their professional lives.
What will your professional life look like? Blatantly intertwined with your personal beliefs? Quietly intertwined? Completely separate?
While in the vision and creation process it is important to consider this stance. And I propose that there’s no right or wrong answer here. It’s your call. It’s your vision. It’s your business.
But I do want to suggest that once you decide, remain consistent with implementation.
Your organization will be strengthened by partners who will stand beside you in this decision.
#3 – Train by Style. Train for Guidelines.
I have personally experienced several aspects of training: effective, non-effective and non-existent. Face it – management may or may not believe in the importance of training. But the reality of it is, training involves all levels of management and staffing.
Here’s the thing, if an individual is going to be promoted into a supervisory role sound advice would suggest that they know how to supervise staff. The fact that they know how to do their daily tasks really well does not necessarily qualify them to manage staff.
No matter how much you like a staff member, no matter how great of a team player they are… no matter how much you like them as an individual… a really great business manager may make a horrible employee manager. There are two options here: hire for strengths or be trained to do what you don’t do well.
Effective training boils down to what style works for the manager and their staff. Will the individual benefit more from hands on training? Or is the good ol’ fashioned classroom teaching best? And yet some have even learned that individuals truly learn by simply watching others… so the classic lead by example style is often implemented.
Do well to determine your leadership style ahead of time. Discuss with your partners what would be most effective for the overall goal of the team and then be really GOOD at it!
Your organization will benefit from an effective and appropriate training style.
Train for Guidelines
As the saying goes, “Your attitude determines your altitude”. For more on this read: How High Will You Climb
Being vocal about remaining positive will be your foundation for training successfully.
Will your staff meetings be over-run by complaints or solutions? Will your staff be quick to point out known issues or foresee and offer fixes to potential hiccups? Will you be quick to point out deficiencies of your staff or focus on teaching opportunities? Will your staff yes “YES – I would be happy to help solve that problem!” or “Sorry – we cannot do that.” more often?
Your organization will benefit from your solution-minded partners.
Be solution-minded or you will be paralyzed by problems.
#4 – Measure Results
Start by taking stock so you can measure your progress along the way. To do this, let’s go back to Ingredient #1 – Setting standards.
- What are your Mission / Vision Statements and are you still focused on those?
- What were those short- and long-term goals?
- Were you appropriately staffed to meet your goals?
- How were you going to meet those goals?
And then every month (or quarter, 6 months or once a year) take some time to sit down with your partners and measure results.
- Are your partnerships as strong and effective as you would like them to be?
- What steps have you taken to do that?
- Has the training been effective?
- How can both leadership and staff be better trained?
- What went right? What went wrong? How did it happen?
- What can be done better? And how is that accomplished?
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