Our guest post today comes from our Certified Partner in Southern Florida, Barbara Hauser.
As a Whale Hunters partner and business development enthusiast, I’m convinced that nothing significant can be accomplished in business by any one person alone. I’m equally convinced that the future most of us want to create for ourselves, our clients, associates and families is much different from anything we’ve ever done before. That means we need to put new practices and habits in place. We need to do new and different things.
So, how do we do that? Playing a bigger game makes partnering for success a “must”, yet few amongst us has ever made that happen in a healthy and sustainable way. Let me list a few of the new and different things successful partners do.
How to partner for growth……5 basic steps towards success.
Step #1 – Learn to be present. Most of us go about our business day on a treadmill of multi-tasking and rushing from one activity to another. It’s no wonder we don’t make much of an impression on other people. Breezing through the halls, in and out of meetings, we are more of a fleeting thought that a presence to reckon with. When you’re in conversation with your partner, be there, focused on the person and the conversation – and nowhere else!
Step #2 – Learn to ask for help. “Gutting it out” is so much a part of our culture, that most of us don’t even know how to make a request in a clear, direct way. Oblique or sloppy comments like “it would be great if you’d give me a hand” or “what would you think of working together?” seem polite – but they aren’t effective. Try instead, “Will you complete the marketing plan by Wednesday COB?”
Step #3 – Learn to make good offers. Mind-reading is not one of the key competencies of business leaders. And hope is not a strategy – instead of expecting the other person to know how wonderful you and how much you have to offer the partnership, be clear and explicit. “I want to offer to have the marketing plan on your desk by Wednesday COB.” (Getting the idea?)
Step #4 – Learn to listen for commitment. Just because you’ve made a good offer or a good request, you don’t necessarily have the other person’s commitment. I can’t tell you how many people come to me with the complaint of how their partner isn’t committed to their agreements. It doesn’t take long before we uncover the reason they feel that way. Most often, the culprit lies in the fact that the other person didn’t accept their offer or agree to their request! Learn to pause and listen – and not just with your ears! Listen by noticing the person’s body language and tone of voice. “Yeah, yeah, I’ll get to it.” usually means – don’t count on it, baby!
Step #5 – Learn to state what will make you happy! We all have great examples of partnership breakdowns caused by disappointments and violated expectations. “I thought you were going to let me know ahead of time if you couldn’t keep the deadline”, laments one business partner. “What?” his partner replies, “you know how busy I’ve been. What do you expect?” My question, precisely! If you have an agreed upon condition of satisfaction, you have a valid complaint – otherwise, you’ve got an annoyance, at best!
Partnering isn’t as intuitive as we think it is. It requires deliberate thought and action – and most of all, practice! Play big, partner up, and do what the successful partners do – practice, practice, practice!
Barbara Hauser is a Whale Hunters partner and business coach located in South Florida. With over 20 years experience with business clients worldwide, she specializes in leadership and communication.