Partnerships

All organizations have both internal and external partnerships – most are not well defined and due to lack formalization, can cause problems. Don’t assume that because you have conversation or communication with another group that they are your ‘partner.’

  • An internal partner might be a department you receive products from or the one you deliver products to.
  • An external partner could be a vendor, customer, next door neighbor or even a friendly competitor.
  • I always recommend you build your relationship with your attorney, banker, CPA and insurance agent into partnerships.
  • Of course, you will have those people who are a sounding board or wise counsel.

The word ‘partner’ is either a noun or a verb, per Merriam Webster.

  • As a noun: one of two or more people, businesses, etc., that work together or do business together; someone who participates in an activity or game with another person.
  • As a verb: to join or associate with another as partner
  • Noun variation: The American Western variation of the noun is spoken as ‘pardner’.

When you build a relationship into a partnership, it has to be two-sided in dialog, action, respect and benefit – just like a personal relationship/partnership. Don’t assume that because you have conversation or communication with another group that they are your partner. (Yep, I said it before).

Let’s run through an internal partnership example:

  • Do you know the requirements, timelines and supplies for the product you are building?
  • Where or who do you get those from?
  • Do you know the names of the managers or team leaders from those areas?
  • Do you speak with them often, not just when they throw something over the wall?
  • Have you invited them to see your process and team?
  • Have you both shared your concerns about requirements, timelines or supplies?

When you have open communication with your ‘input’ team you are showing respect for their job and pressures; by showing them your process area they will gain insight into your job and pressures. When you are both communicating and understanding your mutual areas, the products will be done better in quality, faster in production and to the satisfaction of the requirements owner.

When you share information with the receiving organization or the ‘output’ team, their job will be easier as well. They will know what’s coming to them, when and in what condition. Active communication with both sides of your work area will help everyone do a better job.

For an external partner, let’s talk about your insurance agent for example:

DSC_0899EssentialPartnerships500

  • How often do you talk with your agent?
  • Do you have several agents to work with? Do they know each other?
  • Do you review your future strategies or ideas with agent?
  • Has your agent done a walk-through of your facility? Do you have any new equipment or
  • layout for review?
  • Does your agent have a current list of all your equipment (and pictures in their work location)?
  • What other information on your equipment does your agent need?
  • What other information from your company does your agent need?
  • Does the agent have education information for you or employees?
  • Who can submit claims to the agent(s) and what method?

When the agent(s) can see or hear in-depth information, they can better recommend coverage for you and your company. They may have information or posters for your employees on safety or even mini-classes that might reduce your premiums. If they don’t know much, then you can bet/guess/expect that you will be under-insured.

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