How Partnering Skills are Emerging as the Key to
21st Century Business Success
by Stephen M. Dent
Few business leaders today would debate the importance of partnering for practical and strategic advantage. Yet understanding the value of partnerships is a far cry from successfully developing and sustaining these crucial alliances. In "Partnering Intelligence: Creating Value for Your Business by Building Strong Alliances" organizational consultant Stephen M. Dent shows how to develop the power of partnerships in any organization and take the lead in 21st century business.
Dent makes the point early on in his book that businesses don't partner, people do, stressing that the very success or failure of any strategic alliance depends on people skills, abilities to develop trusting relationships while accomplishing mutually beneficial objectives. Dent calls this skill set a person's partnering quotient, or PQ -- similar to IQ as shorthand for mental intelligence and EQ for emotional intelligence.
While IQ typically remains fixed throughout an individual's life, PQ can be developed over time, the author points out. Dent then identifies six critical key partnering attributes which, taken together, help create healthy, thriving partnerships. Moreover, the book contains more than 20 instruments, questionnaires and self-assessments for executives, team leaders and other organizational members to determine their PQ level and focus on developing weak areas.
In addition to the relationship aspect of partnering, Partnering Intelligence explores the process of developing partnerships. " Partnerships don't just happen, they are designed," Dent says. He developed the Partnership Continuum as a tried-and-true blueprint for creating successful partnerships. Dent divides this process into four stages: assessing (discerning what you want from a partnership), exploring (identifying prospective partners with areas of common interest/mutual benefit), initiating (taking on projects to build trust and effectiveness) and finally committing (bringing the partnership to fruition by formalizing the relationship and engaging in mutual strategic planning). He offers a number of real-life case histories, such as strategic coordination of a large hotel's housekeeping and maintenance departments to increase work quality; an alliance between KLM and Northwest Airlines to offer the best flight scheduling; and the City of Washington, D.C.'s outsourcing of parking meter repair to Lockheed Martin IMS in return for a portion of meter revenues.
Applicable to multinationals and mid-sized firms, small businesses as well as public and private ventures of all types, Partnering Intelligence illustrates real-life examples of the power of partnership alliances and teaches readers how to implement them to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Stephen M. Dent, founding partner of the consulting firm Partnership Continuum, Inc., is an award-winning organizational consultant working with such clients as USWEST, Inc. Northwest Airlines, AT&T, GE Capital Services, and the U.S. Postal Service. He lives in Minneapolis MN.
Stephen M. Dent