The businesses that thrive are those that promote and value partnerships
and alliances. We are beginning to recover from the incompetence, lack of accountability and greed of recent years. The ruinous Darwinism of “I’ve got mine you get yours” is yielding to the eternal truth of; No one succeeds alone. In real life, we’re all in it together.
Because everything is changing so fast we need strong supportive alliances
more than ever before. Without these reliable partnerships and alliances to call on we quickly fall behind the competition. We need quick access to resources; human, informational, financial, and material.
We still talk about ‘team work’…but the reality is we are moving past teamwork to the partnership mode. Partnerships are different, more potent than traditional teams. For example, members of a sales team used to be rugged individualists who went out and sold things. In our technological age, these salespeople are part of a partnership that can provide a broad range of supports on the spot, things like alternate proposals, financing, or technical expertise.
Twenty years ago we began decreasing the levels of management, everyone thought we’d flatten out the power pyramid and decrease the layers. To people’s surprise, the highly successful organizations have become circular instead of flat. Each activity is a link in a chain whose strength depends on the whole.
Businesses used to be divided into isolated fiefdoms where a few individuals had a lot of control. The finance and product development people, the ‘number crunchers’ and ‘computer nerds’ were often off in separate corners, doing their own thing and passing on pronouncements.
Today leaders realize that no one department can be more important than another. Each affects the whole and must function at the same speed. Everyone must become an equal player in an interdependent chain: research and development, information systems, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and marketing. Their partnerships represent equals coming together to fulfill customer needs.
The companies that flourish are those whose employees are empowered to form partnerships. In these alliances, fluid and flexible teams of perhaps four or five people come together to solve a problem or achieve a goal, and then move on to the next challenge.
The flexibility of these partnerships is at the heart of innovation, competitiveness and stability, all three factors that make highly successful and sustainable businesses.
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