2023.04.26: Five Keys to Strategic Partnerships

Original article published on Linkedin by Dustin Lanier, CPPO

(This article was also recorded as a podcast, give a listen here!)

"If you want to go fast, go alone - If you want to go far, go together." African Proverb

Why should any organization – public or private – choose to establish strategic partners instead of building everything in-house? 

After having run a business for almost 14 years, and supporting procurement shops in strategic thinking, I think it boils down to these five tests:

Commitment to Core Excellence: What are the services that you excel at, and what do you truly know how to manage as your core offering? If you cannot manage it with attention, and it distracts from where your team is otherwise excellent, it is your responsibility as a leader to determine alternative methods for the needed service.

Access to Specialized Expertise: If a partner has become an expert in an area that is not a core competency, by establishing a trusted partner, you are able to blend and unify in a way that benefits your customers with reduced risk and faster time to market.

Flexible Scale: If you have surges in demand, you are able to scale up in response, and then also scale down freely if the need for the service reduces. Elasticity in staffing is only possible with agile partners.

Trust in Common Purpose: Good partners should meet your standards of performance and ethics and approach to work as if they were your own team members - because when they are embedded, they become part of the team. If problems do come up, deal with them quickly and authentically. The capacity and commitment to execute are critical when going together to go far.

Shared Field of Vision: If you have a partner network that is truly symbiotic, then you will have different perspectives and relationships - and therefore the ability to see opportunities that may otherwise be missed. Different vantage points give a full field of vision.