Great Partnerships - DuMonde Ventures 020714

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Information about Great Partnerships - DuMonde Ventures 020714
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: KrisLichter


Better Together: The Art of Building Valuable Partnerships Kris J. Lichter (MBA ‘97) Co-Founder & Principal DuMonde Ventures Image: Copyright Paramount Pictures

A rose by any other name – what is a partnership?  Two or more organizations, teams or individuals coming together to achieve a common goal  External or internal in nature  Singular in scope or multi-faceted  Of any duration  Often formalized by a contract or guiding documents

Why do two parties partner?  Combine their respective offerings to better address a market or audience need  Development of a new product, service or solution  Joint marketing and communications  Enter or expand in a geography, industry or segment  New market development

What are the potential benefits?  New customers and revenue streams  Increased sales  Expanded market share  Competitive differentiation  Brand equity boost  Improved stakeholder satisfaction  Reduced resource requirements for a given offering or market  More partnership opportunities, mergers, acquisitions

If it’s so great, why doesn’t everyone partner?  Organizational culture, mode of operation  National cultural norms  Fear of commitment  Liability concerns  Cost  Complexity of cooperation  Overinflated sense of relevance  Lack of vision

Getting started – communicate  Spend quality time establishing a clear common purpose or set of goals  Make sure you listen to the other party’s point of view – you’ll either understand where they’re coming from now or you’ll learn it later (perhaps too late)  Determine the potential value and requirements of a potential partnership – this establishes scope  Start small, grow big vs. multifaceted or even multiparty  Be honest, be open and be realistic! Note: the above should not be confused with constructing a contract or negotiating terms and conditions

Considerations & components  Point of contact (single or by area of responsibility)  Operating responsibilities  Process and procedure flow  Budgets, resources  Milestones  Timeline  Ownership

A word on contracts and negotiating  Contracts are not guiding documents – they are instruments of last resort  Gather all stakeholder and sponsor inputs and requirements early (pre-negotiation)  Communicate internally throughout the negotiation to avoid surprises  Mind games and other ‘negotiating tricks’ are simply a waste of everyone’s time – don’t do them

• Seek the ‘rock bottom’ moment. Don’t avoid it. • It’s the true beginning of the negotiation’s end (and the beginning of the actual partnership).

Day-to-day teaming tips  Having exceptional people as the leads will make great relationships sing and shaky ones more solid  Practice constant, fluid communication - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure  Devote substantial energy to getting to know your partners and make it a regular investment  A great team isn’t restricted by organizational lines  In rough times, don’t default to the contract – a ‘clean sheet of paper’ conversation better enables the parties to find a way forward

Finding operational balance  Each organization will bring its own operational bias  Branding  Clients  Executive  Geography  Product  Technology  The best partnerships enable and capitalize on the leveraging of each organization’s natural strengths in these areas

Assessing the ongoing partnership  Are we achieving our shared goals?  Secondarily, are we achieving our individual goals?  Do we remain philosophically-aligned?  Where is the combination weakest?  Is our respective leadership committed?  How is the partnership being received and perceived by our stakeholders?  Are there new areas of potential emerging?

It’s a marriage – treat it like one  Throughout the life of the partnership, jointly seek continuous improvement - it will pay dividends  Don’t take the other side for granted, and work to understand their ever-changing point of view  Routinely assess achievement against the original goals, and current realities, and adjust milestones and/or expectations  Again, constant, open communication is critical to success  This includes to all sponsors and stakeholders  Consider using external feedback on the partnership to hone strategies, goals, timing or tactics

..And don’t forget to co-brand! Thanks! 858-243-1608

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