During a recent meeting with one of our company’s most ardent supporters, the discussion turned to partnerships. More specifically, what characteristics contribute to the formation and sustainability of a great partnership?
Following up on our initial dialog, we posed this very question to a few of our key stakeholders. In those conversations, several traits came up regularly. Here are four elements that help build positive partnerships (and one that is a collaboration killer):
- Transparency – Sharing of information in a timely manner is critical to building solid relationships.
- Collaboration – Building relationships is a skill, and it takes a collaborative spirit to facilitate growth.
- Communication – For a partnership to flourish, the parties must be able to talk freely about their collective vision and what next steps need to be taken for success.
- Recognition – Each party must put the efforts of the other side in front of their own. Give the credit to your partner and the team when things go well, take the heat when things go poorly.
These four characteristics are key to all types of relationships, personal, business, familial, charitable, you name it. While these positive attributes should always be employed, here is the one thing that can crush any hope of building a solid partnership….. Insecurity.
Think about the deepest and most beneficial relationship you have in your life. Chances are that bond was built on a foundation of trust where both parties feel safe in communicating to each other. The ability to be open and honest with another person opens the door for real conversations and positive collaboration. A lack of security will always lead to problems. Insecure people conceal information, hide facts, and act in a way that will erode the partnership from the inside. If a person cannot garner honest and truthful information from someone, there is no real opportunity for a relationship to grow.
As leaders we need to plant the seeds that allow partnerships to develop. By creating an atmosphere of transparency, with open communication, and collaboration towards common goals, true success can be reached. Further, building an environment where who gets the credit is an afterthought will allow for sustainable teamwork among peers.
For many people, opening up in order to build partnerships is hard. Sometimes it is uncomfortable. Often it is even painful. However, when connections are built, and a positive partnership evolves, it is one of the most enriching experiences in life.
Open the door for real dialog. Plant the seeds of collaboration. Positive partnerships await.