SUCCESS STORIES

Two way feedback reveals unexpected partnering insights

Industry: Logistics/telecommunications

Use case: Partnership MirrorWave


 

An interdependent partner relationship

This is an example of a highly interdependent partner relationship where a logistics company has just one large telecommunications business as their sole customer. As background, the telco partner was putting pressure on the logistics partner to improve its partnering performance and follow best practice, so implementing this kind of program made sense. If you’re in a business that’s in partnering, your feedback systems should be two-way as well trying to build the spirit of collaboration.

An innovative, two-way approach to feedback

They decided to run a partnership based program where both sides give feedback on the effectiveness of the relationship- a two-way method, which is highly innovative. Such was the level of innovation that the global headquarters of this multinational gave special dispensation to be part of the program, overriding its global policy of not allowing the giving of feedback.

The great power of this two-way method is that the viewpoints of both parties towards the partnership are revealed. It took a while for the response rate to build, because people were cautious about how their feedback would be used. The MD of the logistics partner takes this opportunity to talk to everyone on the client side personally about what they feel is working (or not) and to give their feedback.

The logistics firm then have an internal session which looks at their own views on partnering. They discovered that a lot of the attitudes that came out of the first wave weren’t that very ‘partnering’ oriented at all.

Problems became opportunities

The MD used the opportunity to work internally to emphasise that every time there was a problem it was an opportunity to show their skills, and to show the technology partner how great it was to be working with them. They learned to welcome problems as an opportunity to show them what they can do. After all, they were the experts.

This story reveals that provider partners are likely not nearly as organised inside as they think they are, and that true partnering will require internal work.