Forging Successful Partnerships is a delicate ‘dance’ between strategy, leadership, and vision. Irrespective of the industry in which your business maneuvers, having an associate on your side, in an arrangement of a strategic partner, will advantage your company. An alliance or a strategic partnership will give you an opportunity and benefit to approaching unique skill sets that are distinctive from competitors. Partnerships are successful when equal collaboration from all parties is in play rather than one partner carrying the burden of all responsibilities. This will not only save time but also maneuver the best results from each partner while they deliver brilliance in the area that is distinctive yet related to each partner. This allows partners to focus on their expertise and produce the best result than having them work beyond their knowledge. A lot is considered while entering into a partnership – strategy, leadership, and vision.
Partnerships and what they mean
Partnerships are based on a symbiotic relationship between two or more companies coming together for mutual benefit. No one has all the answers, talent and capability, so we need to create partnerships. So how does a partnership lead to success? It takes more than just a few people, or the stars aligning perfectly or companies coming together; it takes strategy, leadership, and vision to make a strong partnership. “What is the relationship between strategy, leadership, and vision?” Strategy, leadership, and vision must be present and work in combination to achieve success in changing or growing a company. Leadership and vision are needed in equal parts for a change project or an entire company to be successful in the long run.
Defining the Vision
A vision of the future that is bold and carries everyone involved to the next step in its evolution is key to success. A vision gives a glimpse into how we see the future for our company or partnership; it requires risks to be taken and changes to be made to reach that potential. The idea that a vision can be made without a leader is entirely possible. However, the idea of making that vision a reality and a success without the emergence of leadership is very unlikely.
Leadership for Success
Leadership is an evolving study of people and organizations. The speed of change in today’s society makes leaders handle things differently than they did 20 years ago. Between technology and globalization, decisions need to be made with speed and accuracy. Today’s top leaders “empower” their people to make decisions and trust that those decisions follow the “vision” agreed upon as a company and partnership. i.e. guiding coalitions that whole-heartedly believe in the vision.
Strategy is Key
The next question is where does strategy fit into the equation of being a leader and guiding people to fulfill a vision? The strategy is the deployment of plans to reach our vision. The vision guides us and the strategy is the plan we follow on a daily basis to reach our vision. As an example from my past, we needed to develop a new vision for a solution, one that my company could not achieve on its own. “Enable our mutual customer the Federal Government and military, to complete it’s mission at a reasonable life-cycle cost while creating partner profitability and success for all parties involved. Address IT commoditization by redefining LPTA and SSI. Shed light on the fact that IT as a commodity is introducing additional risk, which may compromise the ability to meet the mission. If the customer wins, we all win as employees and citizens.” Making this vision a reality requires several different strategies and parties. First, enable solutions that solve customer problems, secure the network and create profitable service engagements. Second, work with the Government to redefine Technical Acceptability and raise the bar on what is technically acceptable. Last, our strategy must include being more aggressive in working with the customer early in the sales cycle where the influence on the IT project has a greater chance of succeeding.
“Without strategies for change, vision is a dream. Strategies are ways of pursuing the vision and mission. Strategies are the road maps of a changing terrain. Effective leadership entails developing, getting a commitment to and implementing rational business strategies based on possible future scenarios for the organization.” (Gill, 2003).
Being creative, working with speed, and leading virtual teams are key to creating great partnerships between all parties. Strong leadership and a guiding coalition that believes in a vision will be created together. Finally, strategy ties everything together and makes the vision a reality for the people who carry out the mission every day.
Vision, Strategy & Leadership. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vision, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strategy, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/leadership.
Gill, Roger (2003) Change management – or change leadership?, Journal of Change Management Vol. 3,4, 307-318