As we delve deeper into the idea of formulating great partnerships with our customers, our suppliers, and even our competitors, we must constantly ask ourselves what we can expect from them and, in turn, what they can expect from us. There should be a mutual understanding of what these expectations are, and they should be, well, expected. We should be able to count on one another as partners to work with one another, combining and coordinating our expectations so they will always be mutually beneficial.
Here are some of the mutual expectations I have with my partners:
Vision: We must have the same vision. We must want the same things from the partnership and the same goals of what we both want from the partnership. If we have disparate goals, then we do not have a partnership. We must want what is not only best for each of us as individuals but what is best for us as partners. We do this always with the thought that together we can do more as partners than we could as individuals.
Availability: I expect them to be available to me when I need them, and vice versa. It’s not just when it is convenient for them or for me. We must agree to be there for each other whenever that need arises. We should be always ready and available for each other.
Authenticity: We must be real with one another. We must expect and give honesty, even when it hurts. We need to always tell each other the truth. We cannot have agendas that are hidden from one another.
Respect: We must value one another. We have a true respect for what we know and what we can offer to one another, without a doubt. That respect leads to ultimate trust. I value my partner’s opinions and do all I can to get my partner’s respect as well.
Trust: We know that we can trust one another and that we are always looking out for one another’s interests.
Reliability: We need to be able to always count on each other. We must provide consistent and reliable behavior to one another. This is the result of respect and trust.
Wisdom: It’s important that we know and appreciate one another’s wisdom and experience. A good partner complements and adds to my own abilities so that together we create results that neither of us can do alone.
Empowerment: We must believe in one another enough to empower each other to work on the other’s behalf. In short, we must give one another the power to make sound decisions for the good of the partnership.
Energy: We must have the energy for what we do and especially what we do together. The combined energy and passion of our partnership will again make the partnership stronger and more productive than if we were working independently.
Generosity: We need to give one another room and comfort enough to be generous in our contributions to our partnership without a second thought. If one partner starts counting, starts measuring who does what, then the partnership will not work.
Protection: We know that we have one another’s backs, and that we will both be protected from what could hurt either one of us. We realize that what hurts one of us will hurt us individually and as partners.
Production: We both need to be focused on getting results and those results must be produced by both partners working individually and cooperatively to achieve those results. In fact, it’s achieving results that far exceeds what we would do individually.
Open minds: The ability to open our minds to new ideas. We must ensure we are willing, able, and open to both listen to and respect our partner’s opinions and ideas. We must be so comfortable with our partners that we appreciate anything new and different they bring to the partnership. Let’s be honest enough to discuss it completely to find resolution if we do not quite agree at the onset. Having an open mind is one of the most important attributes of being a good partner.
Admiration: This is a big one. The best partners are the ones who have admiration for and from one another. Partners who truly understand each other and admire what each of them contributes to their partnership will have the very best and most productive partnerships possible.
How about you? What are your partnerships like? Do they have the expectations I’ve mentioned in this column? I challenge you to think about and evaluate your own partnerships. Use this list when you’re developing new partnerships. I think they are pretty good expectations to live by.
(Note: Some of these ideas were influenced and inspired by the writings of John Maxwell.)