A key part of leading a partnership is the willingness and ability to connect people to one another.
People will keep participating in your partnership if they find it beneficial to themselves and their own organization. One of the best ways to benefit others is to link them with those who may share common goals, priorities, experiences and resources.
While this may appear to be easy, there at least three pitfalls that can get in the way of being an effective connector, which may result in hindering the work of your partnership:
- Fear of losing the relationship
- Focusing only on what you need
- Failing to follow-up
Fear of losing the relationship is one of the biggest reasons people fail to share their connections and partnerships. They are afraid that the partner may no longer want to work with them if they start working with someone else. In my experience, that is exactly the opposite of what really happens. When you take the time to really understand the needs of your partners and what would truly benefit them, your linkages to others only strengthen the relationship they have with you. You are continuing to add value to them so they want to keep working with you!
Focusing only on what you need is another common challenge that keeps people from making connections. If you have worked with a partner and she has contributed greatly to your efforts, you may not even realize it, but you may be hesitant to provide her a connection with others because you are concerned about the impact that will have on you and your work. Any good partnership is mutually beneficial. I have found that if I consider others and find ways to help them meet their needs by making connections, they are even more willing to keep working with me on a project that meets both of our needs.
Failing to follow-up is very easy to do – or really not do! We all get really busy and are focused on our work. We may be really good at making connections and the first two pitfalls don’t apply at all. But this third pitfall is also important because it helps you stay current with your partners and your connections. I have had some situations when I’ve made a connection and found out months later that the connection ended up being a negative experience. If I hadn’t found out about it, I might have tried to make a similar connection again which can damage my own credibility and trust with partners. After making a new connection between partners, I recommend setting a reminder to check in with them a few weeks later. This can be as simple as a quick email, but it can be really powerful in strengthening the relationships with your partners and staying current with your own connections.
So keep connecting! Don’t let fear of losing a relationship, a focus on yourself or a lack of follow-up hinder your efforts in linking people together. Linking people together will add value to your partners and will add value to your partnership.
What are some benefits you have found in linking partners together?