The value of trust in partnerships

by Ramona Fuchs – Head of Partnerships

 

The value of trust in partnerships.

When I imagine you reading this, I can just see your eyes roll when I say “I’m probably oversharing but…”

The reality is, you’ll know you’re in a great partnership when you can say the above sentence without needing to add the disclaimers “between you and I” or “in confidence…”

All great partnerships are founded on trust

As with any good foundation, trust builds over time. I feel blessed when I look back at my nine years working in partnerships: I worked and connected with some phenomenal people who shared the same spirit as me when it came to the value of trust. We were able to rescue deals, accelerate sales processes, avoid escalations, help with insights and much more.

Often, in functioning partnerships, insights beyond ‘business as usual’ are shared in order to move opportunities ahead and add value to clients. Trusted, open and honest communication with peers and stakeholders is key.

So, is there a roadmap to mutual trust?

The answer is very much ‘yes’: begin with procedural trust. According to Jim Harrison and Gary T. Furlong, in the early stages of (business) relationships and − as you don’t yet know your counterpart − you agree on procedures, with checks and balances everyone can execute on “that allow us to create the long-term, sustainable foundation upon which organisational trust and, eventually, personal trust can be built.”

 

Partnerships are like relationships

It’s a bit like dating a new partner: You don’t propose or share your childhood dreams on your first date; that would feel awkward for most people. You court, grow trust, text, call, meet-up, meet-up again, and demonstrate that you care, repeatedly, until you feel confident enough to overshare.

In business partnerships, it’s very similar: You build trust with integrity − and this starts with simple things: When you say that you will send a meeting summary, send it; when you say you will action Y and Z, do it; when you know you can’t deliver to a deadline, be honest and demonstrate how you will resolve it; when you hear something great about another team, share it. You get the drift…

 

Good partnerships are fun

Of course, there must be mutual benefits to make the investment of time and money in a partnership worthwhile. Partnerships come with obligations (more on this next time…).

As I’ve said before, partnerships are fun − and you can make them as good as you want them to be! As always, I’m keen to hear your thoughts…