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How employees help a partnership to succeed

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Every year my girlfriend and I go on a diving trip together. We have made ample dives together in various breath-taking destinations, amongst which Egypt, Thailand, and Mexico. Diving is something you always undertake with a buddy and it is of utter importance to completely trust each other. Especially in rather tense situations, such as when you are diving at 30 meters depth, diving in a cave, or are experiencing strong current.

Anderson MacGyver helps IT organizations that want to embark on an adventure with strategic partners to increase the value that is being created for the customer. In strategic partnership it is important that both parties are willing to make long-term investments in the overall collaboration. Additionally, the partnership should benefit both parties.

An example of such an IT organization is our customer Eneco, who has chosen to outsource her datacentre, telephones, and related IT-services to multiple strategic partners. Naturally, all sorts of affairs are captured in contractual agreements, agreed-upon processes, and governance and innovation. Anderson MacGyver has supported all parties during interactive sessions in developing and designing the governance. However, much as diving is not something you can learn from theory, a true partnership in which partners fully trust and rely on each other is not built in a day. It is something that grows over time, an ongoing process. Eneco and her partners realized this as well. But how to develop such a partnership?

Projects are often characterized by tangible results; partnership, however, is a more elusive concept. Means that enable discussion and management of partnership are often not available. Additionally, a partnership is something that often forms and grows at the work floor. Thus, it is essential that involved employees support the collaboration.

Recently we have started an initiative with Eneco and her partners to address partnership. We have determined which specific behaviour is required to enable partnership. Think of behaviours in terms of ownership, transparency, proactivity, and the provision of feedback. By identifying this behaviour, the partnership was made more tangible. The following step is to give meaning to these behaviours. We have chosen a bottom-up approach to do so, in which we ask the employees of both Eneco and the partners for help. For each specific behaviour, we invite them to provide examples from the field on a platform that is accessible for every participant. This way, the employees’ attention is drawn to the specific behaviours and people are able to discuss them and inspire each other. At the same time, the platform is a means for the organization to manage desired behaviour and subsequently let the partnership succeed.

By jointly enabling the partnership to grow, Eneco and partners can and will rely on each other to find a safe way to the water surface even in tense situations.

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