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The 4th Could Have Your Enterprise Singing Like The Righteous Brothers

Many business leaders make the mistake of considering partnerships transactional rather than relational.

While transactions are always part of the business equation, a great partnership is more than the sum of everybody’s bottom line. Great leaders consider integrity, competency, communication – the entire sum of the relationship.

In fact, it takes five elements to make a great partnership. No. 4 is the one that can have your enterprise singing like The Righteous Brothers!

  1. Look for partners who are competent.
  2. Look for partners who have integrity.
  3. Look for partners who can communicate clearly.
  4. Look for partners who can understand their roles.
  5. Look for partners who want to benefit everyone involved.

Look for Partners Who Are Competent

This should go without saying. After all, if your partners cannot fulfill their promise, you, your company and your customers will end up disappointed.

Executives should ensure that all partners have a unique value proposition. All partners should have a high level of competency in that area.

Evaluate their past performance. Examine their track record of meeting commitments and delivering results. Request references.

Even better, interview previous clients or partners to discover insights you’re your potential partner’s reliability and professionalism.

Look for Partners Who Have Integrity

Tompkins Leadership and our sister company, Tompkins Ventures, will only work with partners and clients that have integrity. I mean really high. We don’t want to just follow the laws, regulations and norms of good behavior. We want to rise above.

Observe your potential partner’s behavior over time. Note if they act with honesty, transparency and consistency. Conduct background checks. And again, interviewing previous associates can verify a potential partner’s reputation and ethical standards.

I thought I was in the consulting business for decades. It only took me a few decades to find out how wrong I was. I was in the integrity business, not the consulting business.

My reputation was not because I invented this, foresaw that or wrote dozens of books. My reputation in supply chain and leadership grew because people trusted me.

They knew if I said something, I would bend over backwards or do head flips to make sure my organization got it done.

We say what we do, and then we do what we say.

That consistency over decades allowed us to be successful over time.

The last thing I want to do is work with someone who doesn’t have high integrity. Neither should you.

Look for partners who can communicate clearly

Sometimes people can do the job. They have high integrity. They are very competent.

Unfortunately, many cannot even begin to explain what they do in plain language.

If you cannot explain what you do, how do you expect anybody else to understand what you do?

All business partners must be able to explain their value proposition to people who are not specialists. Whether you are offering supply chain solutionsleadership development or technology expertise, you are going to have to talk to many who do not understand your field.

Look for Partners Who Can Understand Their Roles

Go listen to “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” or “Unchained Melody.

The original Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, had contrasting vocal ranges.

Musical experts note that Medley’s bass-baritone voice took the low parts. Hatfield’s tenor, which reached as high as countertenor, handled notes in higher registers. (Yes, I had to research that. I know a lot about leadership and supply chain. With music, I just know how to listen and enjoy.)

The duo each knew exactly their role and how their voice needed to complement each other. That’s what makes their songs so beautiful.

Your partners need to understand and know their roles. You can conduct role-specific discussions or scenarios to evaluate their understanding and readiness.

You want your partner network to synchronize like The Righteous Brothers, not clang like punk rock. (Apologies to all the punk rock fans out there.)

Look for partners who want to benefit everyone involved

Partnerships should be more than the sum of their parts. They should benefit everybody.

So many in business look at Sun Tzu’s The Art of War as a business book.

Business relationships should not mean war. I want everybody involved to win, not to die.

Look for business relationships where everyone can benefit, where everybody either makes money or gets valued services or solutions for the money they spend.

If partners lose and lose, eventually you’ll find your business has nobody to work with.

Want more coaching on how to build great partnerships and networks? I would love to discuss your business goals.