Connect or Die: it’s a simple concept. We can expand our network and learn to truly partner, and thrive. Or, we can continue keep our companies isolated for the most part, and die.
Increasingly, it’s unacceptable to let short-term pressure keep us from forming value-added partnerships because we’re trying to keep most revenue in-house. Organizations need to strongly consider giving up bottom line results in the short-term for the opportunity cost to be gained in the long term by finding partners to flex or amplify the business:
1) Partner to Flex
You know what you’re good at, what your core is (if you don’t, you should!). Focus on what you do best as a company and look to partners to help with lower-value tasks and processes as well as tasks that are important to your business, but not core. For example, are you creating graphic-heavy presentations in-house? Perhaps a talented free-lance designer or design firm could do this work more efficiently and effectively than you can internally. This should be an ongoing discipline and allows you the room to flex your core strength. At the same time, outsourcing lower-value tasks frees up scarce capacity and resources you can direct toward the future of your company.
2) Partner to Amplify
Even if you’re adequately assessing client needs and trends and coming up with great ideas to serve them better, if you’re not open to partnering to develop the new solutions, chances are you’re not moving fast enough or you’re taking on too much risk. For example, finding a partner who brings expertise in a new technology that could expedite how you access and deliver knowledge to your clients could be a much more profitable investment, especially as technologies for knowledge sharing tend to evolve and change so quickly — keeping up will cost you a fortune, why not partner with someone who “keeps up” as their primary business? Partnering in this way adds the side benefit of learning from your partners in ways that can benefit your own core business. Stepping into a collaborative ecosystem with partners who are expert in adjacent areas to drive innovation efforts is the future. If one already exists around you, step into it. If one doesn’t exist, be the first to reach out and start to build relationships and partnerships. You might end up creating the ecosystem everyone else collaborates within. Henry Chesbrough and others are showing us the future if we’re willing to follow.
The net, consider opening your mind and your business model to partnerships that you might not have considered in the past, but that could really enable innovative growth well into the future.
Photo licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 via Flickr user: donjd2