Dear Carnegie Coach:
My company has recently been trying to improve the image of our brand with our customers. We have put a lot of effort into our marketing but we have seen limited results and or feedback. At this time I think we need to consider bringing in an outside company to help us concentrate our marketing efforts. In the past all of our efforts have been internal so I am not sure the best way to develop a relationship with someone outside of my organization. What is the best way for me to go about utilizing an external company for a partnership?
Like any relationship, successfully external partnerships evolve over a period of time. As time goes by you will experience higher levels of trust and accomplishment with your new partner. Part of managing these external partnerships will involve how successfully you can guide from one level down to the next. Here are the steps involved in developing a successful external partnership.
1. Formation – During this process you will need to assess the required experience and knowledge of your would be external partner. In this stage everyone involved in the partnership gets to know each other and learn how they can work together as a team.
2. Planning – This is a collective process with your new partner to bring everyone’s expertise into the design of the team effort. During this step, the goal is for all team members involved to grow in terms of their respect and understanding of each other.
3. Cohesion – As the partnership evolves beyond the initial stages everyone’s vision becomes more unified. Relationships should be developed that include how to approach and engage one another.
4. Achievement – As successes accumulate, partners will feel that the synergy of their talents and effort it paying off. You must acknowledge and reward the success of your partners and they will in turn take pride in their joint accomplishments and have a greater sense of the importance of the endeavor.
5. Actualization – The partnership is now functioning at its greatest level of efficiency and collaboration. You must make sure that all lines of communication between you and your partners remain open in order to maintain your level of success.