Strategic partnerships are a powerful way to better serve your customers, expand your business, and grow your revenue streams.
In Microsoft’s first two years of their co-seller partner program, they generated $8 billion in partner revenue. Though strategic partnerships are powerful, they can only be successful if they are approached strategically. While that may seem obvious, there are many businesses that enter into strategic partnerships (or alliances) lacking clear structure and alignment – resulting in failure 80% of the time.
Creating Successful Strategic Partnerships
The foundation for a successful strategic partnerships is laid before the partnership happens.
Being strategic in a partnership requires a clear vision for your company, a thoughtful mission statement outlining how you will get there, and dedication to your core values. Without those three vital components of your business, you won’t be able to create the structure you need for a successful strategic partnership. In fact, one of the top reasons partnerships fail is due to poorly defined visions.
Vision vs. Mission
Companies often use the terms vision and mission interchangeably, but both serve their own unique purpose in a business.
A company vision is the organization’s aspiration for their brand in the long-term.
A mission statement, on the other hand, is a definition of the business, the business goals, and how it intends to achieve its goals.
A simple differentiator is visions are looking at the business long-term while missions are shorter-term. Before entering a strategic partnership, clarity on where a company is headed and how it intends to get there is vital. That clarity acts as the guard rails in a partnership, guiding decisions within it.
Importance of Core Values
Like a vision and mission statement, core values clearly articulate a company’s purpose. The difference with core values is that they relate specifically to culture. Core values should certainly support a company vision and mission statement, but they tell a different story.
Core values outline what a company believes in and what is important to them. Those values foster the employee culture, and they also allow customers to form a connection with the company.
With regard to strategic partnerships, alignment on core values is essential to either party preserving the culture they have worked hard to foster in their respective organization. It is also a key aspect of driving employee, and team engagement within the strategic partnership, and in turn, toward your organization’s long-term goals.
Employee Engagement Makes or Breaks Your Success
In order to thrive, your employees need to be engaged in their work. That engagement requires alignment, trust, and excitement toward the future. Your employees need to not only understand your vision and mission statement but be inspired by them. They need to not only be aware of your core values, but they need trust those values are all around them. Afterall, as Warren Bennis once said, “trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.”
Understanding and excitement toward where your company is headed begins to build a sense of purpose with employees – they can visualize how their work is beneficial. One of the top reasons employees become disengaged is due to feeling a lack of purpose. You can mitigate that by clearly defining what your company stands for, weaving that into your organization, and involving your employees every step of the way.
Strategic Partnerships Hinge on Your Foundation
Building successful strategic partnerships hinges on the foundation you build within your company: the clarity of your vision and mission statements, the dedication you have toward your values, and the trust you instill in your employees.
With a sound and purposeful organization, you can garner a successful strategic partnership with confidence in every decision you make within it.