For the second article in this series, I’m going to describe the Partnership Framework Objectives.

“Sound strategy starts with having the right goal.” ― Michael Porter

How much time do you spend establishing your partnering objectives?

Ten minutes, an hour? The time is immaterial, but the thought process isn’t. Deciding to partner should be a conscious strategic decision and the partnering objectives well thought through. If you haven’t considered them carefully, you could invest a lot of effort before you discover the ambiguities or contradictions.That’s why we have a Partnership Framework Objectives section.

Are your partnering objectives clear?

Our experience at Expertek is that partnering issues often arise because objectives are unclear. By taking a pragmatic approach to objectives setting, you can make an immediate impact. You will enable your team to discuss, crystallise and resolve any issues. It’s also important to determine and document what you need from your partners. That will reduce the ongoing debates about partnering and the appropriateness of various partners. And since management time is scarce, a simple SWOT is a great way to deliver a summary and initiate action.

Within the Expertek Partnership Framework Objectives section we break down the objective setting process into three closely related activities:

Business Objectives

Defining and documenting, in unambiguous and measurable terms, the reasons for partnering.

Partner Requirements

Capturing the partner attributes required for the delivery of the business objectives; usually, a set of complementary capabilities, products/services or assets. As a result you will have a clear Statement of Requirements for partnering. A neutral document in that it is not built around a specific partner or partners.

Partnership SWOT

This is a SWOT of your partnering capabilities and performance. You should also include recommendations for building on strengths, taking advantage of opportunities, addressing threats and overcome weaknesses all addressed through partnering. The SWOT may also focus on one or more specific partner relationships.

Why focus on the Objectives and Requirements?

Our experience at Expertek is that cracks in a B2B partnership often begin through a lack of clear reasoning behind the relationship, or a mismatch between a partner’s capabilities and current business objectives. A few hours’ intense activity on the objectives can align the organisation and ensure that resources are focused on supporting those objectives. Capturing the Partner Requirements helps to ensure that the whole process is addressing the needs of the business, rather than an individual’s bias towards specific partners (which for some reason is a natural human reaction to partnering decisions).

In future posts I’ll delve into other parts of the Partnership Framework. For an introduction, read the Introducing the Partnership Framework post.