I have come to believe that to survive and ultimately thrive we must effectively create partnerships with everyone around us, from family to colleagues to society in general.
The word partner conjures up many connotations, such as collaboration, equality, teamwork, trust, alliance, support and reliability. These are qualities that we look for in both personal and professional relationships. The people we surround ourselves with can often make the difference between failure and survival. It’s not only who we surround ourselves with that matters, but how we interact with them that makes the difference.
The Partnership Principle
Every partnership involves two or more parties who work together to achieve a common purpose or undertake a specific task while sharing risks, responsibilities, resources, competencies and benefits. It’s a voluntary collaborative agreement that must evolve to meet the needs of everyone involved.
Partnerships are powered by synergy, enabling two or more parties to leverage their assets, such as resources, capabilities, expertise, and client base, for the mutual benefit of all.
Success cannot be achieved without meaningful partnerships that allow everyone to make continuous improvements. By collaborating with others, you can direct your resources and capabilities as you prioritize projects.
The Pareto Principle (also known as the 80–20 rule) asserts that 80% of outcomes can be attributed to 20% of the causes for a given event. To achieve more with less, one needs be selective, not exhaustive.
Leaders must strive for excellence in the few key areas they can master, rather than seek good performance across many. We must focus our own resources on what we do best to create a sustainable competitive advantage, while relying on the resources of others for the rest.
The People Factor
My career so far, which has taken me from multinational Fortune 500 companies to my own startups, combined with my personal journey, has taught me many lessons about the highs and lows that one can experience. The one consistent always comes back to people: how the right people make you and wrong people break you.
Regardless of industry, geography or quality of products or services, having the right people on your team is paramount to success.
My company, BTM Corporation, is an ecosystem composed of employees who are partners, customers who take on a partner role for the value they derive, distribution channels and service providers who collaborate with us across multiple verticals, and academics who foster knowledge sharing.
Bidirectional partnership breeds long-term success, if all parties follow a few fundamentals.
Developing appropriate partner management processes to ensure repeatability. If something works, stick with it. If it doesn’t, take another approach. The world moves too quickly to make things up as you go.
Creating win/win reward systems that can be tracked and measured. Risk-sharing and incentive-based performance is a major driver to keep people and programs moving forward.
Evolving and expanding the ecosystem. As something is taken out—people, processes or products—something must be put back in. The motion never stops. New markets and opportunities require new partners, products and innovations.
Words to Work and Live By
Henry Ford famously said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”
Partnership is an integral part of the long-term pursuit of mutual fulfillment. All parties must remain committed to the same goals and collaborate to achieve those goals by adhering to sound and established principles, as long as those fundamentals are working. Each partner must be agile and recognize any changes that require a shift in focus in order to stay on track for the long haul. Everyone involved must recognize how he or she contributes to the greater good of the partnership itself.
Partnerships will always play a key role in guiding my ongoing success and satisfaction in all aspects of work and life.
—Faisal Hoque is founder, chairman, and CEO at BTM Corporation and founder of research think-tank BTM Institute. His newest book is The Power of Convergence. Follow him on twitter @faisal_hoque.