Just try cleaning out a closet alone and see why partnerships are better together.
How many times have you tried to clean out a closet and had a difficult time getting rid of clothes?
Perhaps you thought, “I can wear this to John’s wedding” or “I will definitely wear that again” when in fact, you haven’t worn that article of clothing for over three years. Change of any sort is hard and making decisions alone is even harder. Especially since we all don’t have our own Marie Kondo.
Whenever I start my spring cleaning, I have one of my friends or my mom help because they bring another level of non-biased input.
It’s no surprise that having an objective partner is the key to success and it will also leave you with a little bit of inspiration. I, like many many others, found myself feeling particularly inspired at the start of 2019 when Netflix launched Tidying Up With Marie Kondo (through the KonMari Method).
Kondo starts off by getting very clear with her clients on what their vision is of their living space. The organizational process is not just about cleaning, but fundamentally based in a specific and creative method for making decisions on what you discard or keep. In the show, people get extremely emotional, but as nerdy as it sounds it can be life changing when done the right way and with the help of someone else. As Bustle writes, “When you are finished with the KonMari Method, your living space should be transformed for good.”
Partnerships are forming in the digital space, too, because it’s hard to reimagine your business within your own four walls.
Similar to cleaning being a team sport, partnerships help to reimagine your business. Partnerships help to scale talent and other innovation-focused resources that support new products, platforms or user experiences. (Open source development has also been considered to be a related imperative.) This can be a stark differentiator to traditional siloed approaches to innovation.
Boosting Customer Experience (CX) with a great user experience: some organizations are ambivalent about investing in a partner or feel that they can collaborate internally (and they absolutely can), but today’s most valuable (outside) partnerships yield some of the best results. With CX delivery as the lifeline to sustaining business, now more than ever, strategic partnerships are helping to yield the best results. There are examples everywhere: Spotify + Uber, Roku + TCL, Nike + Apple and Alexander Wang + H&M. Per Customerthink, “If customers have a negative experience via a digital channel, they are likely to move onto another brand in hopes of a more positive, seamless experience.” You must support your customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
Identifying gaps to whatever challenge you are trying to solve. Look at your customers and in a discovery period, partnerships can work together to find out:
What are your pain points?
What are the KPIs that you are trying to achieve?
What are your customers saying? And why are they saying it?
What worries your customers?
What would help to accelerate growth?
Smart companies don’t tackle these questions alone. Recently, company leaders from Kroger and Walmart spoke at the National Retail Federation Big Show about their digital transformations that are changing the grocery landscape. The theme between both of these stories and the bottom line is: meet consumer needs and use every dollar and partnership towards supporting this.
Kroger was deliberate in picking their partners that were experts in their field, similar to how some homeowners have chosen to partner with Marie Kondo and invite them into their home.
Last year, Kroger formed several partnerships to reach their lofty goals: British e-grocer Ocado helped to build + automate fulfillment warehouse orders. The company wanted to automate fulfillment centers on their own, but it would take them 5-10 years to develop. The partnership cut their time in half. Rodney McMullen, the CEO of Kroger said,
“You can’t do it overnight. You really have to understand where is it you’re trying to get to, what are the things you are better off doing on your own and what are the things you are better off partnering with others.”
As the new year has hit (and as I watched the results of the partnerships with Marie Kondo), I’ve been inspired to give my apartment a makeover with the help of my fiancé. Open and effective communication and an objective presence will ensure that an organization (or a spring cleaning) will be effective.
Big breakthroughs and progress can’t happen in silos.
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