The great benefit of bringing two parties together to work to achieve a common goal is that they will each bring their own different perspectives, experiences and techniques as well as any products and services. When these different and initially separate ‘approaches’ are effectively blended into a new way of achieving the objective this can be an exciting and fulfilling way to solve the defined challenge or problem.
This all sounds like common sense but in practice partnerships can often run into difficulties especially if one of the parties is unwilling or unable to let go of their way of working. It’s a natural human condition to ‘be in control’ as it helps us to feel more secure but this inflexibility will be a problem if you want to work in a partnership with a customer or supplier to find new solutions. There are several ways to avoid this problem and the first is to clearly define the common goal and how the partners will work together (specific roles, timescales etc.). In addition I would suggest that there needs to be an agreement about the way of working together which ideally would include a culture of openness, a willingness to challenge and be challenged and regular communications between the parties (face-to-face, phone etc.).
If these ground rules are established up front and both parties buy into the goal and benefits from it then they have a very good chance of making their collaboration a successful one. This will help us to avoid the negative outcomes from an ineffective partnership where the parties may create something that doesn’t work, where they fall out completely, or when one partner becomes dominant and just controls the situation to do it their way thus negating most of the value that could have been gained.
In short you have to let go of some control and the comforts of the way you normally work to gain the benefits of an effective partnership, so why not spend a few moments to reflect on your experience of collaborating with others and whether you could benefit from letting go of ‘being in control’?