These are our relational ‘Ten Commandments’ for healthy partnerships;

  1. Be Transparent
    In the age of social media, we’ve all become particularly adept at broadcasting the best version of ourselves. If we gave people a warts-and-all perspective of who they’re actually dealing with then they could base a decision to pursue the relationship upon a realistic perspective. In a business capacity, we like to give people a good idea of what we’re like to work with and encourage conversations between our current and prospective client partners.
  2. Establish the Premise of the Relationship
    It’s worth stating the obvious, there is a point to every relationship. Why are you embarking on this relationship? When the rules of engagement are clear, everybody is on an equal footing. Building a relationship upon the foundations of communication and understanding is important but having a clear expectation as to what each party expects to get out of it is critical. Having shared vision and a goal puts us on the same path – hopefully one of intentional harmony and successful outcomes!
  3. Be Clear on Expectations from the Outset
    The only way to avoid being either disappointed or a disappointment is to have realistic expectations and manage other people’s expectations of you. For some reason we seem to think that playing our cards closer to our chest is safer – wrong! Laying our cards of expectation on the table is the only way to be fair both with ourselves and the other party. This exercise also forces us to carefully consider precisely what we want and need from the start. As a business we prioritise gaining an understanding of the KPI’s for those we partner with. We need to understand how we can help to achieve their goals and therefore inherent expectations upon the partnership.
  4. Set your Boundaries
    We all have boundaries, and often get aggravated by people not respecting them, but if they haven’t been communicated clearly, we might not have such solid grounds for the aggravation. It’s better to define what you will and won’t do, as Meatloaf so eloquently put it ‘I would do anything…but I won’t do that’! As a business we try to ensure that these are established early on in any working partnership we embark on. That’s why we place such importance on our workshopping process, as defining a clear agreed scope sets our boundaries and expectations.
  5. Be Flexible
    Whilst boundaries are important, so too is a level of flexibility. Any relationship in which a party is particularly dogmatic or rigid, is unlikely to survive long term. The nature of the uncertainties of life dictate a level of flexibility is required in order to navigate the unknowns which inevitably get thrown at us. Where there is a business case for defining the ‘knowns’ there is equally a case for allowing for the ‘unknowns’. The strategy for navigating those in partnership involves some give and take, respecting the other party and being committed to what’s best to overcome the particular obstacle in light of the bigger picture.
  6. Communicate
    Once the initial flurry of ‘getting to know you’ communication is done with expectations and boundaries set, communication can slip to the backburner, but in order to grow and maintain the relationship it’s the very thing that needs a consistent commitment of energy invested in it. Nothing good has ever come out of poor communication! As a business we have an ongoing commitment to improving and investing in communication. Few things in life are as valuable as a conversation, especially around the tough stuff. Sending an email or message has its place, providing detail that could be lost in the throes of talking it through, but doesn’t replace the value of discussion, especially not when it’s a challenging subject and there’s a possibility you might be simply avoiding a potential confrontation.
  7. Under Promise and Over Deliver
    There is nothing quite so destructive as broken promises. If you ask most people, they would rather have their expectations set low and be pleasantly surprised than be disappointed. We endeavour to make our commitments realistic, whilst trying to find areas where we can add value to the project and therefore the relationship. 
  8. Be Accountable
    Realising that your choices and actions have implications not just for you, but for others should promote the value of accountability. Accountability works best when it’s two-way. In our experience having a project team work in an accountable way delivers the best outcomes. When talking ‘project team’ that term includes everybody involved in the project across the spectrum of commissioning to delivery.
  9. Be Quick to Apologise
    Let’s be real – we all make mistakes, we all forget and we all miss the mark. The benefits of being quick to confess, apologise and do what we can to make amends cannot be underestimated. This is a value we subscribe to at NetXtra, failure is simply an opportunity to succeed! We hope that our commercial partners feel the same as relationship is a two-way street, and occasionally an incoming apology is a real relationship builder and admission of humanity!
  10. Be Committed to the Long Term
    When the going gets tough (which it will at some point – guaranteed!), the tough don’t get going! This is the point to get face-to-face and work it out. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty... I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” Many of our partner clients have worked with us for around a decade. We treasure these relationships. Working consistently with a partner client enables us to build strategically and continue ongoing collaboration to really see demonstrable results and success against their KPI’s which grows year-on-year. This is why not only our strapline but our raison d'etre is ‘Our Knowledge Your Success’.

Give us a call or come and see us at MEMX on 2 May and do a compatibility check! Great relationships start with a single conversation. Call us on 01787 319393