Business partnerships are an important way for many organizations to survive, scale and enhance profitability. There are many reasons for this  – globalization, the availability of information, changes in market dynamics, competition, and maturing product pipelines are just a few.

There are many best practices for creating and managing successful partnerships. However, I have found three simple guidelines that are invaluable:

1) There must be clear value for all partners

As with any relationship, successful collaborations require focus and dedication, often more time and management resources than internal projects. The first question before initiating a partnership should be: Why are we doing this?  Are we really better together or should we go it alone?

To be successful, each partner must contribute something that is beyond their own organizational capabilities and in return, must receive something of value that is truly important and exceeds what they can create alone.

2) Things change

People, organizations, and market forces are all dynamic and so can be the contributions, capabilities, and value each partner brings. Successful partnerships must be flexible and open to change and growth.

3) Each partner should be able to stand in the shoes of the other

This makes 1 & 2 much easier.