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Six ingredients to cook up a successful partnership

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As the partnership bank, we have developed strong partnerships with two of the UK’s most trusted brands – the Post Office and the AA. By working closely with our partners, we provide them what they need to grow and develop their presence in financial services as part of a successful partnership.

We have also partnered with The School of Life – an organisation passionate about making philosophical learning relevant to everyday life – and by working together we identified six different ingredients that are at the core of a successful partnership.

They are:

(1) Common purpose

Partnerships must be founded on a common purpose, ambition and culture. If you find a business that shares a common purpose or shares similar objectives, you would do well to galvanise this relationship and grow a successful partnership. Examples of partnership businesses

Working with partners towards a common goal often means you can reach further, achieve more and be more innovative than you initially thought possible. A shared common purpose also means that everyone has a clear vision of success so you can be more strategic and focus, together, on the end goal, remove obstacles and succeed together.

(2) Solving problems

A clear articulation of the problem or challenge is fundamental to quality problem solving. Being a creative problem solver is a hugely invaluable skill to have and spending time to learn how to be a successful problem solver is a skill that will always stand you in good stead.

People who are great problem solvers within businesses are often the best equipped to respond to their customers’ needs effectively, in innovative and creative ways that work in the real world. Moreover, if you can build your business around solving problems in the real world – customers will always know your value and see your worth.

(3) Mutual respect

Mutual respect underpins all strong relationships in business, and especially so when building a successful partnership. We’ve found that it’s important to create a way of working that allows ideas and opinions to be shared openly, where knowledge, capabilities and experience can be offered to benefit everyone, and when the achievements of others and the value they’ve added to the partnership is recognised.

These are the characteristics of mutual respect, and they in turn are an important foundation to earning trust in the long term.


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(4) Communication

At Bank of Ireland UK, working in partnership is weaved through the way we think and the way we behave. We’re therefore big advocates of having quality conversations with our customers and partners.

Quality conversations come from both being clear and concise in delivering a message, but also really listening to the response – even if it’s not something you want to hear! Never underestimate the benefits of quality communication, it’s essential to the foundation of any successful partnership.

(5) Complementary skills

You can’t work successfully in silos – some of the most effective partnerships I’ve seen over the years are when you find complementary skills that are beneficial to the whole partnership.

By harnessing each other’s core strengths and attributes which complement each other’s skill sets, you’re far more likely to provide successful solutions that are beneficial for all.

Complementary skills can be found throughout your business. Start by being open and honest about what you’re lacking and then look outside the immediate team for solutions that will provide original and creative responses.

(6) Trust

Trust must be earned, which is why, at Bank of Ireland UK, we’ve spent over 200 years building trustworthy credentials and partnerships that we are proud of – like our partnership with the UK Post Office.

Building trust is unique to each individual situation, there is no “one size fits all” approach. Our partners’ brands are sacred to us, and we strive to protect, nurture and deliver value. We hold trust at the heart of all we do, looking after people’s finance and investments is a big responsibility.

Our decisions make a difference to people’s daily lives, so we want our customers to feel they can always count on us and know that their finances are in the most competent hands.

To demonstrate these skills in action, we’ve created a series of compelling videos which tell the stories of unique and inspiring partnerships from all over the world – from using wearable tech to provide vaccinations in India, to rally driving from London to Lisbon.

Des Crowley is CEO at Bank of Ireland UK


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