Why would I want to form a strategic partnership with a 3rd party lab?
A long-standing client of mine from early in my career used to talk about two principles of a strong business relationship. The first (with an obvious nod to Robert De Niro from Meet the Parents) was the “Circle of Trust”. It’s futile to dispute the value of mutual trust in a partnership, so for the purposes of this post I’d like to focus on the second principle which was from Tachman’s Stages of Group Development–specifically Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing.
For quick context:
- Forming – a mutual willingness or agreement to engage in a working relationship or partnership most often on an initial project-by-project basis
- Storming – working through the initial stages (and often challenges) of learning preferences of style, communication, processes, deliverables, etc.
- Norming – you’ve started to learn how each other like to work, and it’s resulting in consistency of output and team dynamics
- Performing – things are now operating more efficiently, the relationship has become a true collaboration, and both parties are reaping the rewards
While these stages can certainly apply to any relationship, I’ve found they hold very true in successful strategic partnerships. And for those who are willing to work through the early stages, the eventual rewards to be enjoyed when “Performing” justify the effort and patience required.
Transactional vs. Relational Interactions
Getting beyond the “one project at a time”, or transactional mentality, is the ultimate goal. It requires a shared commitment to look beyond just the immediate need(s) to proactively identify opportunities to add long-term value. This is the evolution into a relational mentality. An axiom I’ve heard many times before is “a good employee works to make their supervisor’s job easier”. A true strategic partner should have the same mindset as it pertains to their business counterparts. How can we make ________ better or easier for you?
It won’t always be sunshine and rainbows. As long as people are involved, there will almost certainly be bumps and bruises along the way from both sides of the table. However, a byproduct of a strategic partnership is the accumulation of relational equity and thus a healthy desire to work through issues keeping the bigger picture and greater good in mind.
Strategic Partnerships are Mutually Beneficial
At its core, a strategic partnership benefits everyone involved. From the perspective of the client, these benefits can include preferred pricing scenarios, team consistency, procurement and operational efficiency for high-quality output, priority scheduling, and increased visibility within the executive leadership of the lab or service provider.
Likewise the service provider benefits from transparency of upcoming projects to allow for more efficient scheduling of resources as well as a potentially consistent and predictable revenue stream. Strategic partnerships can also spearhead opportunities for growth whether it be a particular service area of need for the client or simply adding team members to accommodate a growing workload or required expertise.
In this four-part blog series I’ll share some additional insights on strategic partnerships. Part 2 will focus on the value of a lab partner for compendial or repeat testing, part 3 will discuss some partnerships involving other labs to complement or even enhance our respective service offerings, and part 4 will dive into ways a strategic partnership can help develop and grow your business.
To learn more about a partnership with Avomeen and how we can help your business, get in touch with us.
Our featured blogger is Bryan Jobe, Avomeen’s Senior Director of Business Development for companies based in the Midwest, New England, and Europe. Bryan has 17 years of experience developing and growing strategic relationships with clients across multiple industries, sizes, and services.