Partnering – the two-way approach to getting mutual benefit – needs to be reflected in the way both companies work together. That’s obvious, but to execute on it can be easier said than done. One example that we’re most interested in is how you get feedback from your partners. If you are truly committed to the spirit of two-way, here are a few dos and don’ts:
What do I ask for feedback on? Don’t: ask your partner how you’re doing. Do: Ask how effective they think the partnership is.
Which parties do I talk to? Don’t: ask just your partner for feedback. Do: also ask your own people who interact with that partner how effective they think the partnership is. That gets a true two-way picture of the partnership. Partnerships are stronger if you see them from both sides
Who do I talk to? Don’t: just ask a few key decision makers what they think. Do: go more deeply into the ecosystem of people on both sides of the partnership. That means you can map out the bigger picture- where the delight is in a partnership and also where the poison is. Keep in mind that most senior people mostly hear the problems, so hearing the positives will be new news to them.
Should this be anonymous? Don’t: let yourself be convinced that people won’t be honest if you know who they are. Do: make sure you know who is giving the feedback- that means you can do something about it. And these days most people want to put their name to feedback.
How often? Don’t: do an annual survey. Do: run a pulse at least twice a year, so that you can make more timely interventions.
How do I know what’s changing and why? Don’t: run single rifle shot surveys. Do: ‘follow’ the same people over time by re-contacting them with the same questions. Then you can truly see what is changing and why. And when you take action on the feedback, you’ll know what’s working.
There’s no better way to strengthen a partnership than to see it from both sides.