How to Cultivate Trust in Your Strategic Partnerships

Picture this: business is booming. Your customers love what you have to offer and profits are at an all-time high. But you feel as if you’ve hit a plateau. There are only so many hours in a day and it feels like your business as a whole has reached its limit. You want to expand, but you’re not sure where to look or how to go about the process of finding partners you can trust.

Trust in strategic partnerships is one of those things you can’t see, but you’ll definitely know whether it’s there or not. When discussing a strategic partnership between your brand and another brand that offers complementary products or services that don’t directly compete with your own, a strategic partnership can be a great way to help you both grow.

But just like with any business relationship: trust is a must.

Of course, on the surface, it’s easy to assume that the trust will simply “be there”. After all, this relationship benefits both of you, and you understandably want the very best that your organization has to offer to be at the forefront of this collaboration, not to mention the ongoing goodwill that both groups will build up between each other.

Trust that Stands the Test of Time

At some point during your strategic partnership, suspicions will arise that perhaps the other side is gaining more from this than you are, not to mention the issues that inadvertently crop up between the two companies because of misunderstandings, a different work culture, or simply different priorities.

For example, if one company has a payment term of 30 days and another has a payment term of 90 days, it may seem like one is pressuring the other to keep the cash flowing, while the other, longer-term company is wondering what the rush is all about and can find their accounting department scrambling at the last minute. Situations like these generally happen without one side or the other intending to disrupt the balance of the strategic partnership.

But there are also those who see that the doors between both companies are wide open and ripe for exploitation owing to their vulnerability. It’s entirely possible that one party discovers a problem and, rather than discuss it openly, does everything they can to milk the value out of the partnership before their activities are uncovered. When this kind of behavior is seen at the senior level, don’t be surprised if other employees start to emulate what they see.

How to Create and Maintain Trust Over Time

To that end, it’s more important than ever to create and maintain trust between both companies in a way that not only reflects their most cherished values, but also gives the other company every reason to confide in them and trust that they’re delivering their absolute best. It’s easy to tell companies that they should cultivate trust, but few will ever go the extra mile and tell them how.

Fortunately, Workdom has you covered. Here’s how to make your strategic partnerships ironclad, with a foundation built on trust and mutual reciprocity.

Be Authentic

It’s not vulnerability, it’s a refreshing openness that demonstrates your goodwill and your good intentions with regard to the partnership. Some might see authenticity as “showing all your cards”. But you are still very much in charge of your business.

Go the extra mile to live the values, mission, and philosophy that you have highlighted on your website. Clear up anything that isn’t clear. Define expectations and leave no room for doubt, error, or misunderstanding. Authenticity goes an incredibly long way in cultivating honesty, and honesty goes a long way in building and cementing trust in a strategic partnership.

Be Honest

A lot of companies say that they’re honest, but when push comes to shove, they’ll do whatever they can to save face or simply ignore the situation until it becomes too big to ignore. Be unapologetically honest.

This may involve having to root out some bad apples, reshuffle some structures or simply lay out what’s happening even if it’s uncomfortable. The other side will appreciate your candor and by bringing up issues before they are exacerbated and morph into considerable problems, you can help avert a crisis before it happens.

Be Responsible

At the core of your strategic partnership, be responsible. You are still the captain of your own ship and you have quite a degree of autonomy to make your own decisions with regard to how your organization will come out of this partnership. You want to trust in your partner to perform to the best of their ability, and you want to lend whatever help you can to see that through to fruition.

At the same time, you’re not responsible for the whole partnership. When you act in the best interests of both rather than solely what is best for your company to the exclusion of everything else, it gives the impression that you’re not as invested in the partnership as the other side, and this can lead to disagreements and distrust.

As you can see, cultivating trust in a strategic partnership is easier said than done. However, with the right team on your side, you can not only locate potential partners or distributors, but also foster relationships between them that are fully built on trust and mutual cooperation.

How Can Workdom Help with your Strategic Partnerships?

Contact our senior advertising professionals at Workdom today and let’s take a deep dive into where your business is and how you’d like it to grow, using our cutting-edge and proven advertising and marketing techniques.


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Disclaimer: This post is for general information purposes only. It does not constitute investment advice or a recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investment and should not be used in the evaluation of the merits of making any investment decision. It should not be relied upon for accounting, legal or tax advice or investment recommendations. This post reflects the current opinions of the authors and is not made on behalf of Workdom or its affiliates and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Workdom, its affiliates or individuals associated with Workdom. The opinions reflected herein are subject to change without being updated.