Who Does the Work? Who Benefits?
I’ve been a freelance writer, an online publisher, and a strategic consultant. I’ve handled a multi-state whole sale consumer products accounts, selling to big chains and to mom and pop stores. I’ve presented huge educational programs to state boards of education and made deals with publishers on four continents. I’ve built a successful conference and convinced big brand sponsors to partner with us. I led the strategy that turned around a failing company. Most of what I know about getting folks to work with me I’ve learned the hard way, by doing things wrong and adjusting out when those things didn’t work.
But I pay attention … especially to one question that makes a working relationship actually work.
Working relationships work because an exchange of value occurs. Value can be currency, time, resources, risk, or sharing a network. Somehow in the best working relationships a balance seems to keep itself, without any party too closely monitoring the score.
So if you’re looking to start a new working relationship, you might want to do a little more work before you event start.
- Know what you offer to the partnership. What can you bring that I don’t have, but would help me to my goals?
- Know what you ask of it. What could I offer in return that would do the same for you?
- Make sure the two are balanced, aligned, defined, and limited in scope. “I”ll do X. What I ask is you do Y. Those two things should move us both forward. Would that work for you? We could try it once as a proof of concept to see whether it works.”
- Then consider that a promise, a pact, a contract made in your words so that you work your butt off to keep to it.
Investors call that “share risk, share the benefit.”
Working partnership might think of it as “share the workload, share the win.”
It’s a great way to get everyone working at what we do well and still get everything done. It’s also a great way to make an offer to a new client.
What makes your great working relationships work?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz!!