The secret sauce to great partnerships
Partnerships aren't made overnight, they take time and effort to create, sustain, and grow into mutually beneficial collaboration. Here’s a few takeaways learned at Skybox on what it takes to cultivate a great partnership:
- Communication. Defining expectations from the start is key, but it can’t stop there. Consistently checking in on clients, partners and investors is essential to ensure expectations are met. As we know, change is inevitable. What may have been a great idea, partnership, or project, may not make sense for one or both parties with time. Re-evaluating and communicating will ensure the following objectives can be met.
- Mutually beneficial. Its always important to ensure a partnership benefits both teams with whatever they bring to the table. Sometimes its land, an asset, finances, key connections or relationships, or essential experience or insight. Don’t overlook something that doesn’t have a distinct dollar sign attached, it may be invaluable for a future partnership. Make sure you are clear on what each party can bring to the table rather than assume what your potential partner could provide. Finally, assess if that component is key to your success moving forward to realize your goals.
- Shared Goals. Are we going in the same direction? At what pace? Are both parties willing to put in the work to get there? It’s easy to assume partners would have the same goal in mind, but it’s always important to define (and continually redefine) what success looks like for both parties. If these goals are not explicitly communicated, assumptions can be made of what a “win” would be in the end.
- Trust. Last, but certainly not least, trust is easily the bread and butter of relationships. If both groups don’t trust one another to get a project done or carry out their respective roles, then the partnership simply won’t work. Understanding your potential partners track record can help ensure that you will have a trustworthy and long-lasting partnership. Have they kept their word? What have other partners said of their reliability?
Finally, remember, an ended partnership doesn’t necessitate burned bridges. No matter the terms you ended on, don’t forget you may look to that relationship again in the future. Someone who consistently leaves burned bridges from previous partnerships will (whether aware or not) develop a negative reputation. As much as possible, put your personal feelings aside, thank your partner for their time, and move forward.