Three Ways to Make Sure the Grass isn’t Greener
I’ve often thought that business partnerships are a lot like marriages, friendships or other personal relationships. In the beginning everything is special: the first deal won, the first transaction (or the first kiss in the case of dating). But as the relationship grows, you inevitably go through a period of time where the newness rubs off and small quirks turn into things that can drive you crazy. Expectations and viewpoints change. You tend to lose sight of the positives and start to make the “grass is greener” comparisons. It’s easy to get caught up in our team vs. their team, or draw broad conclusions about the other person.
In the case of Tribridge, we began partnering with Microsoft almost 10 years ago when we decided to provide software as part of our full-service offering. It’s been one of the best strategic moves we’ve ever made, and our relationship endures. But sometimes the day-to-day pressures of serving customers, meeting expectations and dealing with high-stress deals can put a strain on the relationship.
That’s when it’s time to take a step back and consider these 3 things:
- The Big Picture – We wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of Microsoft. Have we entered new verticals, developed new solutions and captured new opportunities for growth (think the cloud) because of their influence? Are we a better company because of them? The answer is yes.
- Remember their Position – Microsoft is a giant company and it’s their business to develop world-class software. We are a services firm that provides solutions based on their software. Like any good relationship, we need them and vice versa, so it only makes sense to ensure our strategies remain aligned.
- Communication – Even long-term partnerships need cultivation. Messages often get lost in translation. We forget to take the time to ensure everyone in on the same page or clarify what we meant in a conversation. Are we doing all we can to be effective communicators?
As with any relationship that works, both parties ultimately want and need the same things and share similar goals. The trick is to continually work toward mutual understanding. As we prepare for Convergence, one of Microsoft’s biggest events, I’m excited about the opportunity to make new connections and build stronger relationships with the folks who make up our partnership.