Yesterday morning I spent a few hours with one of Quaero’s new software partners. The goal of the session was to educate each other on how we execute, not at a business level, but at a day to day project delivery level. We discussed methodologies (we are an agile shop and they stick to waterfall), design approaches, technical capabilities, and other “in the weeds” topics that are at the core of our respective company’s beliefs. At the end of 2 hours, both of us felt a greater appreciation for what each other does and knew the discussion would pay dividends as we continued our journey together. Through this mutual openness and mentoring, we were able to take a partnership that was simply a signature on a contract to one that is mutually beneficial to each of us…beyond the normal sales leads and marketing support.
Whether you are a consulting company working with a software vendor or a parent raising a 9 year old, partnerships are an integral part of our lives. Your boss is a partner in your success (or should be). Your wife or husband is your partner in life. The owner of your local pizza shop is your partner in food consumption. The person sitting next to you on the bus is your partner in public transportation. Your dog is your partner in getting outdoors. The dude with the headphones on in the cube across from you is your partner in corporate survival. The list of partnerships that we engage in on a daily basis is endless.
What do these everyday interactions have to do with the partnership I have with our software partner? The answer could be nothing or everything depending on what you do with them. In all cases it comes down to open communication and bi-directional discussion. (Yes…even with your dog. Just ask Cesar Millan.) If you don’t take the time to work openly with, support, and understand your partners then the full extent of the relationship will probably never be achieved. If you do spend time to nurture the situation, the partnerships have a chance to go beyond what is on the surface and turn it into a relationship that is beneficial to both of you. In addition, a little nurturing may also tell you that a partnership is not worth your time, which can be just as important for someone who is already overbooked in life.
Give it a shot. The next time you are about to have a meeting with one of your partners, try to answer the following questions and see what happens:
- What can I teach this person about me?
- What can I learn from this person?
- How can I make this person more successful?
Trust me. Your dog will love you for it.