Understand the Purpose of the Partnership
Successful partnerships exist in business because they focus on mutually agreeable business objectives and goals. To ensure this result, partners must be compatible.
This compatibility is primarily determined by having a shared value base. The shared value based must be explored thoroughly, honestly and openly if the partnership is going to succeed. It must be documented and clearly understood by all the parties involved.
If the businesses share a common vision and values base, their partnerships will be successful. If they do not, they will not. It is as simple as that.
Spell Out the Commitments of the Partnership
Partnership agreements form the foundation of successful alliances and affiliations. Therefore, partnership agreements must be constructed using a shared process and must be entered into in a spirit of generosity and customer-oriented service, if they are going to be effective.
Once a partnership understanding is reached at a compatibility level, a plan must then be documented that clearly identifies roles, objectives, accountabilities and responsibilities, as well as clear time frames for completion of tasks and initiatives.
Managing the partnership itself has to be the first objective. A communication and issue resolution mechanism must be in place, and an effective decision making suite of tools is essential. Great partnerships are built on trust. Having trusting relationships is the hallmark of good partnership governance and management.
Have Realistic Expectations of the Partnership
Successful partners, in life as well as in business, talk to each other. Not just when things are going well, but also when there are problems.
They talk honestly and openly with each other, and they take on the responsibility of managing the relationship as a priority. They spell out their expectations so that problems can be fixed when they occur. They share knowledge and skills generously in ways that are of mutual benefit.
Pursuing excellence and quality in partnering relationships is a major source of mutual satisfaction.
Manage the Risks and Opportunities that the Partnership Presents
Business development and risk management are essential ingredients of successful business partnerships. There must be a dispute resolution process in place. Business partners must master problem solving/conflict resolution skills in effectively managing the risks that accompany working with others.
By identifying risks and their potential causes, successful business partners prevent them from occurring in the first place, and they have a process for addressing them, if they do eventuate.
Successful business partners are always on the look out for enhancing and exploiting the opportunities that emerge as the partnership arrangement proceeds. This can lead to exciting new product and service opportunities that are extremely beneficial to everyone concerned.