What does being in a ‘partnership’ mean?

A straight up definition search online of the word ‘partnership’ shows the definition: ‘an association of two or more people as partners’. However, a true partnership means much more than merely an association, especially when it comes to client relationships.


How should ‘partnership’ be defined?

A true client partnership is about both people working together to help realise each other’s desired goals and outcomes. When a partnership brings mutually beneficial gains, whether financial, commercial or financial, there is opportunity for long-term business, personal and professional development.


And it can be an enjoyable experience. We may think a client partnership needs to be serious, formal or even difficult. Imagine what it could happen if were the opposite? One way of considering this is to look at how partnerships are similar to relationships: quite obviously because we are people, so whether in our business or personal life we still behave as humans and not emotionless robots.


Partnerships are relationships

Let’s explore friendship as an analogy. When we make demands of a friend to organise a social event – instead of exploring options and sharing responsibilities – they tend to withdraw, complain to other friends or react negatively. Our reputation becomes affected, and the relationship suffers. If we apply this thinking to our client partnerships, and start to consider them as friends, things change for the better.


In it together

Being in a partnership means being in the relationship cooperatively, whether it’s a verbal or contractual agreement, formal or informal. And when we are in the frame of mind of cooperation and collaboration, instead of expectation and assumption, even better outcomes can develop. When you consider the other person’s perspective and understand what they may be looking for, you show not only compassion and balance, new opportunities often emerge.