I had a busy week last week. I visited two partner companies – one current and one potential; one in the US and one in the UK. I was in planes, trains and automobiles at various times of the week. But I was at home all day Thursday; Thursday was my son’s eighteenth birthday…I couldn’t miss that day.
I met many people during my week; many excellent discussions and interactions. We spoke work and industry. We spoke about current work together and about opportunity for future work together. We spoke about our families and our children. We spoke about birthdays. It was a long week; lots of transfers and waiting for connections. It was an exciting week…a week full of opportunity. Thursday was a special day. One of those most special days. Thursday was an amazing day…a day in a life full of opportunity.
My company meetings were engaging and intriguing…but in very different ways. With a partner we already have opportunity to work with, my discussions tend to be more about existing work…time lines, priorities, communications, new potential projects, relationships, new capabilities, new and existing science, and people. In effect, a discussion about vision, objectives and strategy. Oh yes, an inevitably there tends to be discussion about money as well.
With a potential partner, my discussions tend to focus more on the vision – alignment of vision and strategy – as well as relationships, capabilities, science and people. And yes, money will always come into those discussions as well.
I always enjoy both sets of discussions. Seeking out how we can better work with – and help – an existing partner….seeking out how we can start to work together with a new potential partner. The science is always stimulating – the similarities and the differences. Those moments of wow…I didn’t know you could do that…from both sides. Vision and strategy can be engaging. But vision has to be inspiring. Strategy has to deliver confidence…strategy that makes the vision achievable.
Vision can change. What we see is defined by where we are and what is happening around us. Vision for an organisation or a relationship can change as well…for example new people joining a project will ‘see things differently’ from existing members. It’s why changing team members can be both a challenge (lost knowledge and experience) and an opportunity (new expertise and experience).
So discussion about a shared vision and discussion about how together we can help ensure that vision is achieved (and maybe exceeded) are always engaging. And I always learn. I always sit on the plane, or in the car, or on the train, or in my office, and think about what we said, where we agreed, where we were different. What it means and what it could mean.
And I also find myself getting excited about the business components of our partnerships. It is all part and parcel of the win-win solutions that are essential for a successful relationship. And I long since realised that both partners have to agree that a particular solution is a win for them. Both partners can and do have their own specific business objectives…but real success is a partnership where both groups working together find themselves achieving more than either thought possible when the partnership started. Vision, objects and strategy are all very important to help make this success possible. Relationships, communications and people are essential.
Which is why I was there in person for both sets of meetings. It was a great week. A memorable week.
But Thursday is the day I will always remember. Just like I remember my daughter’s eighteenth birthday. Special days. Special people.