Partnership is defined as ‘a joint business.’ HPO managers and employees create partnerships and join value creating networks in order to grow themselves and the organization. They stimulate cross-organizational collaboration by making teamwork and collaboration top priorities of management and teamwork and cooperation with suppliers, customers and partners standard throughout the enterprise. HPO’s strive to create a High Performance Partnership (HPP) that consist of organizations that are HPOs and that have world-class collaborative processes. For this, they embrace the vision of virtual integration with these parties in the value chain, and therefore redesign and streamline inter-enterprise processes. People in the HPO consciously and consistently look for opportunities to partner with external parties as they know they can learn much from others.
“Working together with partners is crucial at Microsoft. To create value for our customers we have to work together intensely. We are actively looking to cooperate with all kinds of organizations who can help us creating value for customers in unexpected ways. But you do not own these partners so the relation has to be like an ecosystem, which only functions when all partners benefit. Microsoft helps its partners to attract the best talent, which helps our clients and in the end also helps us. More and more we collaborate with parties who are not part of our business model to create more value for our clients. These are, for example, companies that specialize in a specific area of expertise like change management. We try to include more of these organizations so we can support our clients in building better organizations. This way of working is a learning process. Sometimes it works, sometimes the click with other parties is just not there, so we are learning every day how to build and maintain the right kind of relations.”
Theo Rinsema, Microsoft Netherlands
IDEAS TO GET STARTED WITH THE HIGH PERFORMANCE PARTNERSHIP
Research by the HPO Center into the factors that make a high performance partnership – a collaboration between two parties that is of world-class quality and brings high mutual benefits – shows that there are three factors you need to work on, together with your partner, to create a High Performance Partnership.
- Openness in the partnership. There needs to be regular dialogue between the two partners to inform each other about significant occurrences and developments, share ideas an align processes in both organizations; this will create a strong personal relationship between the two partners. Decisions regarding the partnerships always have to be taken mutually and both partners have to do their utmost to fulfill their promises to each other.
- Equality of the partnership. Each partner should be as strong as the other partner in the partnership, in the sense of equal power and equal say in decision-making, and should be as dependent on the success of the partnership as the other partner. The organizational cultures of both partners should match as much as possible so no misunderstandings occur. Changes in the planning of activities or demands regarding the partnership should be communicated timely.
- Conflict management in the partnership. Conflicts in the partnership should be averted as much as possible, by preventing conflicting goals of the partners for the partnership, actively managing differences between people of both partners, and working on increasing trust between people of both partners.
“Being an HPO is not only about having top notch units but also about having a top notch value chain. The complete process has to be high quality, both the units and the transfer points have to be high performing. So you need to get people willing to look over their fence at the neighbour and then help that neighbour so that the company benefits from synergy and excellent cooperation and can thus deliver. We therefore look for the competency to be able to cooperate when we consider people for a certain job or promotion: do they fit in with the group of key-players in the value chain? Can they move around the network of key-players, is there enough sensitivity to deal with people from other companies, do they have the right antenna to find people to improve the process chain? So what we are looking for is no longer people who can only manage their unit well, that is a precondition. We are looking for people who can get results using the networks in the value chain.”
Jan Maas, TATA Steel
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