I have a passion for rock climbing. My friends and I go every weekend to a nice indoor rock climbing gym in the west end of Toronto and spend a couple of hours helping each other tackle the most challenging of courses. They teach me how to move in different ways by observing how they’d tackle a particular grip. They call out from below any watch out points or grips I can’t see when I’m up on the wall. We solve complex courses together and sometimes surprise ourselves with some interesting solutions to get to the top. Without their help, coaching and pointing out areas I need to focus on for future climbs, I’d probably not have made the same progress so quickly.
Strangely enough, something as fun as rock climbing can teach you a lot about the need for not working on your own. If you’re someone like me, who feels they have the ability to achieve their goals on their own, partnering is an even more important exercise. The “do it alone” approach is no longer the way to go. Not if you want to achieve greater results, faster.
When we look at our careers, great strategic allies in the workplace will help support you and the goals you’re trying to achieve at work. By partnering with others you can:
- Have partners help you with any gaps/weaknesses you have by complementing it with their strengths, resources and expertise
- Gain a sounding board for innovation
- Solve complex challenges and problems together
- Push creativity and productivity
How often are you trying to strengthen your partnerships within the company to achieve your goals and vision? Here’s how you can look to partner more within your organization:
Map your expanded network – Don’t just partner with people you work with every day. Partner with those where there is friendly interaction but not shared business vision and goals – could be someone in your HR team, Finance team, maybe even a legal colleague. Or maybe it’s someone on a completely different brand team that you never work with. Everyone brings their own strengths.
Find partners who can complement you by Identifying what potential strengths they bring to the table, that could help cover your weaknesses. They can act as a sounding board and an individual you could align your goals with.
Build Alliances – How well do you understand your partners’ vision and goals? Share your vision and goals and find the areas of alignment. Bring your teams together and let them understand and see the alignment. Identify “What would define success for both parties?” – you might surprise yourself by how much you have in common.
Work as a one – Break the silos between your partners and their departments. Find ways to support each other’s activities. Help each other understand the other’s needs to ensure the success of the activities? Discuss where you could potentially work together in these activities to achieve common goals.
Big breakthroughs and progress can’t happen in silos. By creating internal strategic alliances, no longer serves you as a leader but also, the business, your team and in the end your customers. True collaboration has to be win-win and everyone has to benefit. So before looking outside for the right partners, invest the time in building allies within. Developing value-aligned alliances focused on open communication, common goals and complementary strengths will ensure success as a leader in your future.