Eco-system instead of ego-system
The importance of being an earnest partner and how to achieve it
"If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." – Henry Ford
Partnerships are essential for the sustainable growth and success of Atos as well as any other company. Well, that's no surprise to hear from someone who’s working with alliances every day. But it's, indeed, something I'm very passionate about and fully believe in.
In my team, a strong partner-ecosystem is the key to accompanying our clients, employees and society on their digital transformation journeys. And that means that each partner (advocate) has to leave its own ego-system at home and fully commit to working together in order to achieve the best possible outcome. Only then can everyone play out his individual strength and create something better than individuals alone could do. I like to compare it to an orchestra, where everyone plays their own instrument close to perfection, but only heard as a whole does the symphony achieve its full effect.
The current COVID-19-crisis gives us good examples: In this extraordinary situation where companies and society itself need to overcome challenges, not known till now, partnerships have proven to make the difference. Companies with different fields of expertise help tackle new challenges. As all partnerships are built on the same principles, let’s take an example from a completely different industry: the partnership between McDonalds and Aldi Süd. Both companies did not have many touchpoints in the past. With COVID-19 on its way, many McDonald's employees were at risk to lose their jobs. At the same time Aldi Süd was facing a serious shortage of employees. So, the two companies partnered up with McDonalds employees working for Aldi Süd during the time of the pandemic: a win-win situation!
“I like to compare it to an orchestra, where everyone plays their own instrument close to perfection, but only heard as a whole does the symphony achieve its full effect.”
Three attitudes and behaviors
But good and fruitful partnerships need different tools depending on the goals. From my perspective, the following three attitudes are the most crucial ones that should never be missing from your backpack:
- Eco-mindset instead of ego-mindset: Don't just think of how a partnership can benefit you. Think of how it can help to achieve the goal, and with that benefit both partners. For that, it is important that you and your partner have similar values; the same vision and goal. Only with this shared culture can you solve your customers’ challenges together. Building trust with your partner should be the ultimate objective because it sets the foundation for a good relationship. Leave your EGO-self in the lobby and meet your counterpart with a compassionate, open mind. Focus on the greater good you can achieve together!
- People-centric instead of portfolio-centric: Put the people in the center of the partnership for sustainable business relations. Embrace partners with complementary skills and technology: In order for a project to succeed, you don`t need yourself 2.0, you need someone who brings a different skillset and perspective to complete your solution. Embrace the differences to unlock the full potential of your joint efforts!
- Sharing information for collective intelligence instead of holding information: Honesty and transparency are crucial. Successful partnerships open the way to growth for both partners – but it's no self-fulfilling prophecy. It requires continuous work. In this process, it is important to communicate openly, transparently and honestly with each other. That also includes setbacks. Only then will you be able to learn from both your success and your failures. It requires frequent communication to build a sustainable long-term partnership. A partnership is not a sprint but a marathon that you complete together. Put yourself out there, dare to speak out – sharing is caring!
Adding to the words of Henry Ford at the beginning, those are my views on successful eco-systems vs. ego-systems:
A partnership is not about signing contracts together. A partnership is about building mutual trust and fighting alongside each other.
What other tools do you have in your backpack?
By Fatih Cam, Head of Alliances and Channels, Central Europe