Monday, March 15, 2010

#766: Partnerships in the Age of Entitlement

Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey on Partnerships Or, how do we frame the potential? One of my mentor's recently decided to shift his focus away from his blog to other SocMedia environments. I am both sad (at losing a source of inspiration) and happy (for his embracing change). But it gave me pause... As I mentor business owners, I often send them right here, to this blog. Why? To check and see what I have already said on any given topic. Like this morning. The conversation turned to partnerships, and so, I first turned here and performed a simple search. You know the kind, by typing "partnership" in that little box in the upper left corner of this (and every) page. Well bottom line, the two results did not state my position generically enough to be of value for a particular potential client. Hence this post. So be warned, that search will now include this post. Partnerships Just like Adam and Eve, partnerships have (like life) good and bad moments. The biggest problem with a business partnership is often (80/20 rule) they tend to be forged in "good times" and fail to define all the assumptions of each party. That brings me to the reason for this post. Assumptions. As in, they make an @$$ of you and me! I have engaged in results based consulting since November 1981. Computer Consulting until the events of September 11th and Business Strategy and Marketing since 2002. Yea, I know, I must have started when I was 10! {grin} Seriously, partnerships are almost always a bad idea. But if you know that going in (and if you know anything about me, you know I am all about the vantage point), they can be of tremendous value. A great partnership (yea, an oxymoron) can leverage the unexpected for breakthroughs in very short periods of time. It's part synergy and part focus and often yet another part of what might appear to be dumb luck. Enter Constraints Management and the Conflict Resolution Diagram. Also known as the "evaporating cloud" shown here (this one describes the "Manager's Dilemma"): Manager's Conflict Resolution Diagram Without explaining the dynamics behind this innocent (yet powerful) construct, allow me to make one point: each "arrow" in the diagram (which might also be thought of as "linkages" between activities or functions depending on the environment) represents a number of assumptions. As we are trying to "resolve" a conflict of some nature, and as each conflict can have numerous possible outcomes, some favoring one partner over the interests of another, it is a "moral imperative" that we flesh out those assumptions before signing on the dotted line. Only then, can we agree on a "win-win" scenario. Now then, what did you hope to accomplish with your partnership? Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey, Jonah (843) 564-4754 ©2010 Jeff 'SKI' Kinsey. All rights reserved.
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