How do I align internally in my company that we need to partner with someone?

Rob Keating

April 4, 2022

How do I align internally in my company that we need to partner with someone?

Driving change is hard, that's a universal truth. And whilst it can be an easy choice to partner up for you, getting the required buy-in from others can often be challenging.  

To successfully initiate and mobilize change within your company and align that partnering with another company is the right thing to do, you should first understand the four phases of the journey:  

  • Learn
  • Define needs
  • Assess options
  • Decision making

The big challenge is that each department and team will have its own, slightly different version of what 'needs' are, which can of course create some tension or debate. Creating consensus relies heavily on collaboration and understanding of each other inside the organisation.

To start
In the initial stages of the process, it is not advisable to work through the proposal by going to each department and having them tick the boxes each of them considers important. This approach will likely create disconnection and may cause problems in the later stages, or it could even stall the process and make the change impossible. A better way is to follow a detailed structure that underpins the fundamentals of the process, which in turn should make it as harmonious as possible.  

The first is the learning phase, and here it is important to understand the big picture. What is the value and advantage you are looking for? What if no change happens?

It is a good idea to facilitate a project session with all the relevant stakeholders involved. Gather feedback and input from key decision makers to help your case and help you move towards a decision.  

Define needs
Be absolutely clear about what success looks like. What is missing in your organisation and why? What is the successful outcome of the change? What must be achieved? What is NOT a need, and what is only optional? The more specific you can be about what the intended outcome should be, the better.  

Assess options
You should try to be open minded here. What are ALL the options that deliver the needs or bring you close? Partnership, internal change, outsourcing...there are many ways to achieve greatness. From the needs, create criteria to assess the options afterwards.

Make a decision
This is the big day! It’s now time to put it all together to reach a conclusion. Once all the consultation has happened and the feedback is received, everyone agrees what the right way forward is and you can now proceed.  

To sum up
A good potential partner will help you all the way through this process, and if you can identify a solution where everyone benefits, all the better. They will support you with honest and open information, which is particularly helpful during the ‘Assess options’ phase. They will also work with you to identify the vision, create the right material with you and will even come on site or collaborate remotely with your organisation throughout the process.  

This is all especially important for trust building, and trust is what every partnership should be based upon.