The importance of shared values in business partnerships

29 September 2023 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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When deciding the best course of action for growth, change and transformation journeys, decision makers should not forget about moral integrity when it comes to selecting their partners – however academically or professionally successful their suitors are. Entec Si CEO Eman Al-Hillawi discusses the importance of aligned values when finding the perfect business partnership.

Business values are core to the successful operation of any organisation. Therefore, when deciding the best course of action for growth, change or transformation journeys, particularly when entering any form of prospective partnership, it’s imperative to make sure that values are aligned across all parties.

Successful relationships between businesses are contingent on a foundation of shared values. This is especially true where businesses are required to work in tandem with each other. In business, values are the standards set to ensure a consistent approach to expected work practices and act as a tool for leaders to manage the way in which a business is perceived by external stakeholders, potential customers, clients or end service users.

The importance of shared values in business partnerships

All relationships require a foundation of mutual understanding to flourish. Where this is lacking, the door is opened for potential friction, misalignment in perceived expectations and an overall dissatisfaction that will ultimately not deliver a successful outcome.

For mutually beneficial partnerships, core values and non-negotiables must be carefully considered before the partnership is formalised – much like in a marriage or any long-term relationship – to ensure the joint endeavour is successful. This is achieved by holding key conversations prior to any change journey. It is usually during this period, where expectations are being set and goals outlined, that savvy business leaders are able to deduce whether the core values of prospective partnerships are compatible.

Signs of incompatibility are often case-by-case depending on the values of the businesses and the purpose of the partnership; however, any difference is usually easily recognised during discussions around financial benefits and more. Removing the possibility of friction should be a priority during the initial partnering phase, which often means ensuring that the correct point-person from all parties has been selected to conduct and participate in initial discussions.

Carefully considering personality types, as well as the objectives and end-goals of any project should be one of the first stepping-stones to success. Tailoring the offered services to the minute detail of the people who are delivering on certain aspects of a project can also greatly improve the chances of a project’s efficient and effective delivery. Being shrewd in this commitment is always advisable and ensuring that decision makers have a high level of emotional intelligence is becoming more and more crucial to business success.

With trends in workforce attitudes showing 50% of UK workers have said they would rather have “great relationships” at work than a 10% pay increase, it’s important even from a recruitment perspective that companies carefully consider the values of businesses that they choose to partner with. Increasingly the strength and integrity of an employer brand is becoming key to attracting and retaining the best employees, with corporate social responsibility, diversity ethics and inclusion (DE&I) as well as environmental, social and governance (ESG) programmes being highly sought by job hunters. A business working against its own set values, or partnering with an organisation that does, could therefore be catastrophic for its reputation.

Businesses that have carefully considered its own core values, employee values and employer brand, and putting the same considerations in place for any organisation it plans to partner with, will be the ones with the highest chance of success. From selecting the right point people to lead on certain elements of a project to carefully researching and conducting candid, well-planned conversations, businesses can ensure that objectives are achieved in a way that does not jeopardise their brand. Placing people at the heart of every decision will also always help to ensure that the correct course of action is taken when considering a partnership.

Eman Al-Hillawai is the Chief Executive Officer of business change consultancy Entec Si.