Organic vs. Strategic Partnerships

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Do you have any partners who fight for you to win as if they were fighting for themselves?

We rolled out a new benefit and communication campaign for a company with about 1,500 employees.  They had a centrally located population with a few small locations.  They agreed to cover travel expenses to their smaller locations.  Our enrollment proved so successful that the commissions generated from the voluntary benefits completely offset all travel expenses.

We took an honest approach with the client, reminding them of the arrangement and then offering to absorb the cost if needed.  Their answer?  “A deal is a deal.”  They cut us a check to cover the expenses, and then hired us for another year.  We have worked for them 8 years now, which is unheard of for an enrollment firm.  They continually support our efforts, and we consistently help them achieve their goals each year.  We receive honest, candid feedback that is invaluable as we improve our operations.  They let us know what our competitors offer and give us advice on how we can stay ahead of the curve.

Strategic partnerships are intentional, planned, and usually involve some type of formal agreement.  Organic partnerships are different.

Organic partnerships develop as you conduct day to day business.  They can happen quickly as you demonstrate trustworthiness like the example above, or they can develop over a long period of time.

For example, we worked on a few enrollments with one particular agency.  Over time, they learned that our organization was dependable, honest, and that we would always do our best to make them look great to their client.  We consistently helped them achieve their goals, so they began to give us more of their accounts as we built trust.  They began to bring us in to their largest and most complex clients, knowing that we would make them successful and strengthen their relationship with their client.  At this point, they work exclusively through us, and view us as an extension of their team.

An organic partnership is typically stronger than a strategic partnership, because it is held together by trust and not a formal agreement.

The differentiation is that  a strategic partner typically holds a formal agreement with you and wants you to be successful for their own benefit, while an organic partner wants you to be successful simply because you care about each other’s success.

Organic partners want you to be successful simply because you care about each other's success. Click To Tweet

You can benefit from an organic partnership more than a strategic partnership because there is usually more sharing of information.  These partners tell you where you excel, where you need to improve, and point out blind spots to you.  They fight for you to win, even if it does not benefit them.  These are the partners who offer references and recommendations freely.

Organic partnerships do not just happen.  It is impossible for you to predict where and when they can form.  A strategic partner can evolve into an organic partner over time.

The secret to building organic partnerships is simple:  always do the right thing and actively seek ways to help others achieve their goals.

Start asking your connections about their goals, and find ways that your organization can fit in to help them.  Treat everyone you meet this way, and you will begin to develop organic partnerships.

Bottom line:  you will never regret doing the right thing.  If you help enough people get what they are looking for, they will propel you to higher levels of success.


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One Response to Organic vs. Strategic Partnerships

  1. Proud husband says:

    Very good information. We’ll done.

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