By David Strickland, Vice President of Kenton Brothers talking about partnerships and keeping them strong and healthy.
Partnerships are one of our core values for a reason. Kenton Brothers chooses manufacturers and distributors based on a pretty strict set of characteristics. Quality, Capability and Responsiveness are at the top of the list. These characteristics foster trust and teamwork. We know that the majority of the time things will go very well. And when they don’t, we can trust the integrity of our partners to respond quickly to make things right.
While writing this story, I find myself thinking of several successful partnerships. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan, Ben and Jerry, Han Solo and Chewbacca. (I just had to throw in that last one.) What made these partnerships great? They had all the best ingredients including, quality minds, capable people with amazing skills and responsive action.
They also had chemistry.
Chemistry is that extra “soft skill” that all great partnerships must have. You know that feeling of happiness and connection – especially when you’re winning. That excitement of the no look pass to the partner you know is going to be there to receive it. It feels good to have that trust – You can accomplish anything.
Partnerships in any arena can be powerful… but they can also be tough at times. The We vs. Me creeps in and strains the bond that makes the partnership work.
Here are three tips for overcoming strains on partnerships.
1) Open and honest communication
We recommend you sit down with your internal and external partners regularly to discuss what’s working and what needs work. Be open about it! Both parties want to see the successful partnership thrive. Remember this goes both ways. One of the toughest things for your vendors to say to you is that you are hard to do business with. But If you are and don’t know it, you are missing and opportunity to grow and strengthen your business.
2) Knowledge and training
We believe that the best way to communicate with your partners is to fully understand their business and their product – You should expect the same from them. We recently interviewed a prospective partner that came in knowing very little about us and our story. It was not a very long meeting. Our suggestion is to prepare for the meeting with them by understanding who they are, what they represent and how it could be a good partnership. If during the preparation you discover they will not be a good partner for you – politely decline the meeting as to not waste your time or theirs.
- Teambuilding – One of the most effective was to strengthen a partnership is to team build with them. Invite them to interact with your team and vice versa. Let them get to know your culture through your team. Ask to get to know theirs too. This kind of approach allows for even greater communication in the different layers in your organization and can become a powerful force when you need to call for help.
Kenton Brothers believes strongly in partnering with the very best manufacturers and distributors in the industry. We owe it to our customers to deliver only the very best to them and they should expect nothing less.