Last month, we discussed the value in partnerships and their ties to corporate productivity. We highlighted the top five ways that help determine whether or not a partnership is right. Today, we’ll discuss what happens when partnerships fail.
In a two-part series on partnerships, Robby Slaughter contributed a second post to Maverick Public Relations’ blog. This time, he discussed why partnerships fail and how they can be redeemed. Though joining forces often times make sense, it does not guarantee a well-working relationship.
According to Slaughter, there are several reasons why these arrangements fail:
Shifting, Not Sharing—We sometimes think of a partnership as “divvying up” the duties . . . but a partnership isn’t about shifting responsibility, it’s about sharing responsibility. Accept that there will be challenges and that agreeing to work together means acknowledging that you will tackle problems as a team.
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Communicate and collaborate – Just because the partnership documents make it possible for you to work together doesn’t mean you are actually speaking openly about your business plans. Talk through all possible scenarios. Identify what could go wrong. Show trust by volunteering ideas that benefit you and offering to close loopholes. Work together by talking things through.
Another major reason that partnerships struggle and collapse is because values change. For decades, school systems and soda bottlers had a profitable symbiotic relationship. Vendors would be able to sell their products to students unobtrusively while the public institution could raise funds for important projects. Yet in recent years, these contracts have come under fire and manufacturers have had to pledge to remove sugary drinks from schools. Therefore, a major source of discretionary funds is starting to disappear.
Strategy and Stakeholders– Just because a partnership makes sense today doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect forever. Not only do the organizations need to plan for the future, but they must involve those people in their community affected by the partnership. That might include customers, suppliers or other officials. Get connected with the stakeholders that power your partnership, and make sure you have a road map to ensure their future in your agreement.
There are plenty of other reasons a partnership can fail as well. Think about it as a standard relationship. Although things may seem great at the start, as more information is brought to light, things may not seem so ideal. You may find out the guy you’re dating likes the Mets when you’re a Yankees fan. Or worse, you may find out that the business you partnered with has different goals for the future route that should be taken. That’s why it’s so important to do all your research ahead of time.
Entering into a partnership without all the information needed nearly guarantees that things will eventually go wrong. As Slaughter noted in his article, there are plenty of other ways for things to fail, but you’re only hurting the odds of a successful working relationship if you don’t do your due diligence. That’s where properly communicating is key. All teams need to be on the same page. Express the goals you have in order to ensure that your potential partner has the same ones. Then discuss a potential route to get there. If your plans are drastically different, then that may be an initial sign to look somewhere else for collaboration. But if you’re on the same page, or can explain why you should be, then a fruitful partnership could be well on its way. As with any aspect of business, communication is always key.
Don’t allow a partnership to turn sour. Reach out to our our organizational productivity experts today to learn more about ways you can improve workflow, increase productivity, and foster proper communication.