March 29, 2022

Designed For Partnership

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Apple Watch Nike with the Nike Run Club app is your ultimate running partner. The new Nike watch face moves with you. Guided Runs give you a coach that cheers you on. And that’s just the start. Take the next step to better running with Apple Watch Nike.

Yes, this is an advertisement — a well written promotion aiming to convince all runners they need a virtual coach that will measure and encourage them to be their best. 

No, The Center is not currently accepting paid advertisements. However, we are looking at what makes a good partnership, and this is an outstanding example of two of the world's largest companies deciding that together they can achieve more. 

Here is what the CEOs of Apple and Nike said about their partnership. 

"Technologically we can do things together that we couldn't do independently," Parker said. "So yeah, that's part of our plan, to expand the whole digital frontier in terms of wearables, and go from what we say is tens of millions of users – right now there's 25 million Nike+ users – to hundreds of millions." CEO of Nike, Mark Parker

"Apple Watch sales exceeded expectations…We feel really great about how we did." CEO of Apple, Tim Cook 

This partnership, which started in 2010, is a brilliant example of a win / win situation for both companies that continues to be successful today. There are many things to learn from this successful partnership. Perhaps most importantly, we see that if the largest most resourced companies in the world find a way to partner, then certainly all organizations and individuals can find more success working with others.

Created To Collaborate 

The Triune God made humans for relationships and with needs that can only be met with help from others (Genesis 2:18). Partnerships are part of being human. In fact, theologian Colin Gunton said, “A person… can be defined only in terms of his or her relations with other persons.” In other words, who we are is defined by our relationships with God and other people. 

Miroslav Volf at Yale stresses that we can be fulfilled only when all of creation has found its fulfillment because we are fundamentally social beings. Our development is a means of benefiting others. Not only are partnerships good for business, they are good for human flourishing. 

Think about it, what is the last great thing you accomplished alone? We came into this world with the help of others, and we don’t accomplish anything meaningful without the help of others. There is really no debate about the need for partnerships for success in life and work. Yet, it is true that most partnerships fail. Therefore, we must look at the keys to successful partnerships. 

4 Keys To Successful Partnerships 

Vision Alignment - The need to partner should arise out of the way organizations and individuals see the challenges and opportunities that they face. They should both have a similar burden for what needs to be accomplished and a shared vision or vivid description about what success looks like. 

Pitfall - Not aligning vision by working out the differences in detail and documenting them on the front end leads to vagueness. When the vivid description is not shared, the differences are often exploited (intentionally or unintentionally) later leading to gaps in the purpose of the partnership. These gaps in vision also create the inability to effectively explain the partnership to future stakeholders and limit long term success. 

Gifts And Needs Alignment - Potential partners must understand their own strengths and weaknesses in order to assess how they can complement each other to achieve the vision. In the partnership evaluation, each partner must honestly choose to leverage the best strengths available to them within the partnership.

Pitfall - One partner not honestly evaluating their own capabilities and seeking to utilize their organization’s capabilities because it is better for them in the short term. This mistake will become clear over time and will lead to much more than just mistrust.

Value Alignment - Organizations and individuals must value the same things to work together effectively. Here are a few important values with supporting scriptures.

  • Abundance - All partners need to see a world full of possibilities and not fear false limits. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - John 10:10 (https://www.thecentermemphis.org/blog/there-is-enough)
  • Mutual Benefit - The partners must consider each other's needs equal to their own. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” - Philippians 2:3
  • Integrity / Transparency - Partners must be willing to be honest with each other and share everything relevant to the partnership including information about weaknesses and vulnerabilities. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.” - Colossians 3:9

Pitfall - Not aligning values can lead to exploitation and coercion of the other people. One partner believing they can get the best of the other within the partnership will lead to less success and eventually break the partnership. Attempting to gain leverage through manipulating the other party will destroy the partnership. “In the long run, if it isn’t a win for both of us, we both lose. That’s why win-win is the only real alternative in interdependent realities.” - Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Measure Alignment - What partners measure and how they measure it can be critical. A joint scorecard should be developed that includes how to measure financial results, product quality, customer service, and any other way that each partner currently measures their own performance. 

Pitfall - Separate ways of measuring success will eventually create gaps in vision and values. Not measuring consistently also leads to a lack of ability to respond to challenges and opportunities for continuous improvement. 

Power In Partnership

Collaboration with others, and specifically partnership in business, has the power to transform our lives and the lives of others. Praxis puts it this way,

As we collaborate, we can be set free from the temptation and burden of territorialism—the need to count indicators of success in our field as belonging to us rather than to our mission. Indeed, we are set free from the tyranny of the word, as if either the problem or the solution belonged to us. We will learn to prefer the wins we can share over the ones we can engineer alone.

This mindset, and the practices that flow from it, can lead to dramatic renewal in the sectors where we operate. A generous, patient, and trusting ecosystem of value creators will gradually grow, shifting the incentives for others in our economic “neighborhood.” In the long run, we may not even get the credit for pioneering a new mutuality in our business sector—in fact, many of its benefits will come in the unseen form of exploitation, stress, and personal and business failures that simply never happened. But we will have been present at the beginning of a new way of stewarding value in our field.

Too see more on Redemptive Partnerships visit — https://redemptivebusiness.com/partnerships/

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Howard Graham
Howard Graham
Executive Director

Apple Watch Nike with the Nike Run Club app is your ultimate running partner. The new Nike watch face moves with you. Guided Runs give you a coach that cheers you on. And that’s just the start. Take the next step to better running with Apple Watch Nike.

Yes, this is an advertisement — a well written promotion aiming to convince all runners they need a virtual coach that will measure and encourage them to be their best. 

No, The Center is not currently accepting paid advertisements. However, we are looking at what makes a good partnership, and this is an outstanding example of two of the world's largest companies deciding that together they can achieve more. 

Here is what the CEOs of Apple and Nike said about their partnership. 

"Technologically we can do things together that we couldn't do independently," Parker said. "So yeah, that's part of our plan, to expand the whole digital frontier in terms of wearables, and go from what we say is tens of millions of users – right now there's 25 million Nike+ users – to hundreds of millions." CEO of Nike, Mark Parker

"Apple Watch sales exceeded expectations…We feel really great about how we did." CEO of Apple, Tim Cook 

This partnership, which started in 2010, is a brilliant example of a win / win situation for both companies that continues to be successful today. There are many things to learn from this successful partnership. Perhaps most importantly, we see that if the largest most resourced companies in the world find a way to partner, then certainly all organizations and individuals can find more success working with others.

Created To Collaborate 

The Triune God made humans for relationships and with needs that can only be met with help from others (Genesis 2:18). Partnerships are part of being human. In fact, theologian Colin Gunton said, “A person… can be defined only in terms of his or her relations with other persons.” In other words, who we are is defined by our relationships with God and other people. 

Miroslav Volf at Yale stresses that we can be fulfilled only when all of creation has found its fulfillment because we are fundamentally social beings. Our development is a means of benefiting others. Not only are partnerships good for business, they are good for human flourishing. 

Think about it, what is the last great thing you accomplished alone? We came into this world with the help of others, and we don’t accomplish anything meaningful without the help of others. There is really no debate about the need for partnerships for success in life and work. Yet, it is true that most partnerships fail. Therefore, we must look at the keys to successful partnerships. 

4 Keys To Successful Partnerships 

Vision Alignment - The need to partner should arise out of the way organizations and individuals see the challenges and opportunities that they face. They should both have a similar burden for what needs to be accomplished and a shared vision or vivid description about what success looks like. 

Pitfall - Not aligning vision by working out the differences in detail and documenting them on the front end leads to vagueness. When the vivid description is not shared, the differences are often exploited (intentionally or unintentionally) later leading to gaps in the purpose of the partnership. These gaps in vision also create the inability to effectively explain the partnership to future stakeholders and limit long term success. 

Gifts And Needs Alignment - Potential partners must understand their own strengths and weaknesses in order to assess how they can complement each other to achieve the vision. In the partnership evaluation, each partner must honestly choose to leverage the best strengths available to them within the partnership.

Pitfall - One partner not honestly evaluating their own capabilities and seeking to utilize their organization’s capabilities because it is better for them in the short term. This mistake will become clear over time and will lead to much more than just mistrust.

Value Alignment - Organizations and individuals must value the same things to work together effectively. Here are a few important values with supporting scriptures.

  • Abundance - All partners need to see a world full of possibilities and not fear false limits. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - John 10:10 (https://www.thecentermemphis.org/blog/there-is-enough)
  • Mutual Benefit - The partners must consider each other's needs equal to their own. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves.” - Philippians 2:3
  • Integrity / Transparency - Partners must be willing to be honest with each other and share everything relevant to the partnership including information about weaknesses and vulnerabilities. “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.” - Colossians 3:9

Pitfall - Not aligning values can lead to exploitation and coercion of the other people. One partner believing they can get the best of the other within the partnership will lead to less success and eventually break the partnership. Attempting to gain leverage through manipulating the other party will destroy the partnership. “In the long run, if it isn’t a win for both of us, we both lose. That’s why win-win is the only real alternative in interdependent realities.” - Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Measure Alignment - What partners measure and how they measure it can be critical. A joint scorecard should be developed that includes how to measure financial results, product quality, customer service, and any other way that each partner currently measures their own performance. 

Pitfall - Separate ways of measuring success will eventually create gaps in vision and values. Not measuring consistently also leads to a lack of ability to respond to challenges and opportunities for continuous improvement. 

Power In Partnership

Collaboration with others, and specifically partnership in business, has the power to transform our lives and the lives of others. Praxis puts it this way,

As we collaborate, we can be set free from the temptation and burden of territorialism—the need to count indicators of success in our field as belonging to us rather than to our mission. Indeed, we are set free from the tyranny of the word, as if either the problem or the solution belonged to us. We will learn to prefer the wins we can share over the ones we can engineer alone.

This mindset, and the practices that flow from it, can lead to dramatic renewal in the sectors where we operate. A generous, patient, and trusting ecosystem of value creators will gradually grow, shifting the incentives for others in our economic “neighborhood.” In the long run, we may not even get the credit for pioneering a new mutuality in our business sector—in fact, many of its benefits will come in the unseen form of exploitation, stress, and personal and business failures that simply never happened. But we will have been present at the beginning of a new way of stewarding value in our field.

Too see more on Redemptive Partnerships visit — https://redemptivebusiness.com/partnerships/

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