Category: Loyalty · 5 min read
7 Tips for Transparency in Your Partnerships
on June 11, 2019
on June 11, 2019
In the most meaningful personal relationships, honesty and transparency play a key role. Think about your personal relationships. Most likely, the people you’re closest to are the ones you’re the most honest and transparent with.
The same is true for business partnerships. In order to have an effective, long-lasting business relationship, both parties need to be transparent and honest with each other. Here’s how to do just that and why it’s necessary.
1. Be Honest and Transparent First
Before everything else, lead with honesty. It’s no secret that you and your partner both want to get something out of the relationship. So, attempt to set expectations up front by being completely open with what you want out of the partnership.
For example, say that you’re just beginning a partnership with a certified public accountant (CPA). Why are you partnering with them? What do you want to accomplish? Perhaps you want to agree that you’ll each send referrals to the other, and work together to create solid strategies for your shared clients. Start by sharing that goal. Lead the charge and, hopefully, they’ll follow.
2. List Out Your Strengths and Shortcomings Upfront
What are you really good at? What are you not-so-good at? Write them down and share them with your partner. This may be difficult to do. It’s easy to talk about what you’re good at, but it can be hard to admit your struggle areas. We don’t like to admit that we’re flawed or not amazing at everything. But it’s okay. It’s normal. None of us are great at everything. Being upfront about your weaknesses can present an opportunity for your partner to admit their own flaws. And hopefully, it allows you to see how you can counter each other’s weaknesses to benefit you both.
Using the same example as before, meet with your CPA partner or send them an email detailing your strengths, like explaining the benefits of annuities and helping clients get an accurate view of their financial position, and weaknesses in addressing clients’ tax concerns, which is where you’d like your partner to step in and help. With any luck, they’ll share their strengths and weaknesses, too.
Being upfront about your weaknesses can present an opportunity for your partner to admit their own flaws. And hopefully, it allows you to see how you can counter each other’s weaknesses to benefit you both.
3. Communicate Clearly and Often
Have you ever had a miscommunication with a client, a co-worker, or a friend? What caused it? Usually it’s due to a lack of or poor communication. Don’t let it be your end that causes it. Overcommunicating isn’t a bad thing, and making sure to touch base with your business partners on a regular basis can help keep everyone on the same page. It may help to set weekly or bi-weekly reminders to check in with them, so you don’t forget.
4. Don’t Withhold any Information
In this case, there’s no such thing as too much communication. You want to make sure that everything has been communicated clearly and you haven’t left anything out. Maybe you accidentally forgot some important information. Don’t be afraid to send another email with the update. Giving your partner a call or having a quick face-to-face meeting can be even more beneficial, because so much communication happens nonverbally, and emails can easily get misinterpreted. Overcommunication is better than no communication.
One caveat: if something is confidential information or private company data, don’t share it. Don’t violate any privacy policies or cause a compliance issue. But, at the same time, don’t create a distrusting relationship, because you withheld some vital details.
For your hypothetical CPA, this means looping them in at the beginning and giving them all of the details about the referral, such as any background details, the need for the referral, what the client’s concerns are, etc. After that, continue to keep them updated throughout the partnership.
5. Tell Them Your Expectations Right Away
If you’re not careful and clear upfront, sometimes there can be bitterness that grows from a misunderstanding. Your partner may expect one thing, and you are completely unaware of it. Maybe they think you’re doing a certain function or task that you had no clue they expected you to handle. To avoid this, explain what you expect of them through your partnership, and have them say what they expect of you, too, so you can make note of it and make sure to follow through on your end.
Like in our earlier example with a CPA partner, do this in the beginning, and they’ll appreciate it.
6. Follow Through on Your Promises
After you’ve been honest, upfront, and clear about your expectations, it’s time to actually do what you said. It’s time to follow through. Your partnership becomes beneficial and effective when you fulfill your promise to your partner and deliver the agreed-upon solution.
We always like when people come through for us and help us out right when we need them, and a partnership functions the same way. It’s two companies, helping each other and delivering on their promises.
So, help your theoretical CPA partner and follow through with them. Treat them well, and they should feel obligated to do the same to you.
7. Be Patient (It can Take Time)
Not all partnerships start off super great. Sometimes, you may not see benefits or results right away. But hang in there. Stay patient and calm. Don’t back out if it doesn’t go according to plan or it’s not as successful as you thought it would be. One way to be a good partner is to stick it out even when things get tough and complicated. Work through any setbacks or issues together, and you’ll be better for it.
One way to be a good partner is to stick it out even when things get tough and complicated.
Business partnerships aren’t always easy. It can be difficult working with another business, and at times it may seem easier to not work with anyone else at all. But transparency with each other can go a long way to build a solid relationship and keep your business partnerships growing.
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