The Need for Partnership
This week I was reminded, once again, of how great it is to have a partner that is on your side, who provides you support and who challenges you when needed. That person for me is my lovely wife. She is the most supportive person I know. We are THE definition of a great team. We have the same objectives in mind, we work together to ensure we are being successful, and we support each other through and through. That does not mean that we don’t get into scuffles, get frustrated with each other, or are always on the same page. What it DOES mean though is that we are there for each other, selflessly, in good times and in bad.
I embarked in an entrepreneurship journey in search for more meaningful work and a more purposeful life. It is hard, scary and sometimes it can drive you to the brink of madness. Especially when you have a family. My wife though, bless her heart, has bet on me unconditionally. I am sure she is just as scared as I am, if not more. However, she is the pillar of strength in our relationship.
This past month I was fortunate enough to land a couple of independent contract positions and I felt a little bit like Tom Cruise at the end of Jerry McGuire when he points at Renée Zellweger and says that this small victory is an important step in the future of their company. Jumping on the opportunity, my wife surprised me with tickets to go see my favorite band, the Avett Brothers to celebrate. She purchased the tickets unbeknownst to me, set up a date and just made it happen. She certainly didn’t have to. But she did. Because she is an amazing partner.
It really made me think of the importance of partnerships, and how without them we will not succeed in life or in business. Through my life, I have relied on partnerships to get through challenges and achieve more than I would on my own. My parents were, and still are amazing partners, always providing me with the support I need, however crazy my ideas are.Study abroad? Sure, we will be here for you. Moving permanently to the US? We don’t like it, but we are behind you. Quitting your job and opening a new business? How can we help?
I have had leaders that were also amazing partners. Looking out for my well-being, giving me room to grow, challenging me. Since going on business for myself, I have partners to thank for any success I have come across.My current partnerships with ICF Michigan (www.icfmichigan.org)and Bamboo Detroit (www.bamboodetroit.com) have really moved the needle for me and my business and I work had to ensure they are getting the same value from me and my services. My new adventure with the Brazilian Community of Michigan (bcmichigan.org) has already shown that partnering with smart, selfless people can make a huge difference in a community. Having the right partners matter.
All of these were only possible by being able to build trust. Sometimes that meant going above and beyond. Sometimes that meant being selfless. Sometimes all it took was to listen and act on what was needed. Regardless, you are only able to partner if you are willing to give just as much as you want to receive. Without providing value, you can’t be a partner.
So, what is a partnership? When I was a program manager for a sales onboarding program, I learned the concept of the relationship pyramid.In this pyramid we divided our clients in levels based on the kind of relationship we shared. At the bottom of the pyramid we had our transactional clients, the ones that looked at us to fulfill a service and that’s it. The middle of the pyramid was comprised of collaborative clients who sought our opinions but ultimately were the decision makers on how to move forward. Finally, at the top of the pyramid was the very exclusive group of true partners. In this group, not only did both client and service provider have a say on what the outcome would be but were aligned and shared the successes or failures together. There was a shared responsibility. A shared purpose.
Partnerships are the reason I became a coach. The concept that 1 + 1 = 3. Having people to support you and help shoulder the burden is critical to achieve success. I try and challenge all my clients to look at their relationships through the lease of the pyramid. Where do those relationships fall? How can you move them up and make them into true partnerships...
Now I have the same challenge for you. Look at your relationships and see where they fall within the relationship pyramid. Which ones are transactional? Which ones can you move into a partnership if you dedicate more time to them? Being able to gain partners could make the difference for you and your business. In order to do so, you need to make sure that you are giving all of yourself, selflessly, so that you can build the trust needed to be a partner. It’s well worth the effort.
Andre Mello is a Certified Business Coach and is looking forward to the next concert celebration with his favorite partner. Andre has been in leadership and coaching for over 10 years. If you would like to connect with him, please visit www.wysecoaching.com.