How to build trust in your business partnerships

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When you see a successful business, it seems like its success happened overnight – a Cinderella story, if you will. We all know that is not the reality. But the beautiful thing about building and running your own business (albeit extraordinarily difficult at times) is that it allows you to take what’s broken and rethink the structures around it. This process has helped us define our principles and create practices that not only produce great work, but also happy workers and satisfied customers.

After more than ten years of thwarting conventional business norms, we have developed a new set of rules that we follow. Sure, the traditional ways of finding new business and bringing people together to work on projects still exist, but the last two years in particular have allowed a new way of working to take off, and that’s the one we, at Gather, we have quietly improved. , while waiting for the world of work to catch up.

Although we did, it gave us insight into how to bring the best people together for the best outcome. Whatever your industry, work-from-anywhere paradigms allow you to find the best people for any job, regardless of location. The world of work is forever changed – we believe it’s time to change with it.

Related: How I Know Who to Trust in Business

References only

The rule: your skills as an interviewer will produce good hires.

The new rule: Assume your ability to screen candidates is average at best.

Ninety-three percent of Americans think they are above average drivers. This is obviously not statistically possible. So I ask you, do you think you’re a better than average interviewer? Well, what if you’re not? Most people just aren’t trained in how to properly interview job applicants, aside from avoiding any potentially illegal questions (and even then, one in five interviewers do it anyway without the to know). When you accept or assume that you are probably an average interviewer, you may want to consider other ways to screen candidates. We’ve operated on a “referral and bond” system since day one, and it’s brought some serious power players through our doors – many of whom are still here 10 years later.

Any marketer will tell you that word of mouth is the most effective advertising, and the same goes for staffing. While we encourage anyone to join Gather’s ranks, each person who eventually becomes a member must be referred and verified by an existing member. There’s no cover letter, resume, or application process here, because those things don’t tell us what we need to know about how you work and what results you can deliver.

There’s the old adage, “It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.” In our community, both of these things are true. Who you know can get you in, but it’s What you know (not to mention how you apply that knowledge, and your overall work ethic and attitude) that gives them the confidence to personally vouch for you. There is no greater vote of confidence than this. And the thing is, referrals have a much higher job satisfaction and retention rate.

Regardless of network size (and size should never be your goal over quality), every step of that growth is built on hard-earned trust. We and our customers know that every member we add has been personally referred and guaranteed by members of the community.

Related: 7 Trust Tips to Use in Your Business

Double opt-in

The rule: Do as you are told.

The new rule: the double opt-in method.

There’s an old, but sadly still relevant, joke in the consulting world: workers volunteer to work on a project. We live in the midst of the so-called “great resignation”; giving an employee or consultant a task as if it were a gift should be a thing of the past.

Basically, all jobs are about solving a problem. We are in the business of training teams around customer issues. So when we empower our network of freelancers to raise their hands and say, “Yes, I want to work on this project, with this team, and for this client,” the momentum really kicks in at runtime. .

In today’s economy, the new best practice is a double opt-in method. Workers want to be as informed about the project and the partners they are working with as the companies hiring those workers. When the two parties choose, it is a real meeting of equals. This means that full consent to perform the work comes from both directions. No matter what service you provide or product you sell, empowering your employees to accept the work they do not only does wonders for morale, but it promotes higher quality results, because it is the work they do. am passionate.

Related: Everything you need to know about business partnerships

Calls for tenders = mediocrity of companies

The rule: calls for tenders lead to the best suppliers.

The new rule: Trust your partners, not the process.

There’s a reason some people make their living writing documents like grant applications and industry proposals: they follow very specific conventions and language, and as such they’re a recipe for success. a very particular type of mediocrity that is endemic to the corporate sector.

Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are a distinctly inhumane practice, and it’s the worst way to judge what kind of partner you’ll be working with. Tenders exist because of a lack of trust. The reason we only work with trusted partners is that we want relationships with people, not a client’s trust in our talents to stay within strict proposal writing guidelines.

We’ve worked with some of the biggest companies in the world, but that’s not the feather in our hat. The trust we have built in our community is person-to-person, and we strive to build the same relationships with our customers. As an owner-operated business, we make decisions about the next client or the next project based on the type of work, type of client, and the right person for our network members. This is a markedly different approach than responding to tenders.

The result of an RFP is artificial precision. The result of a tender is a broken promise. Companies rarely get talent on the page. Service providers make the sale and then deliver the talent once the deal closes. We have found that bidding often means bringing in a B team to support the work. I want our customers to know who they’re buying from, and it’s Hilary or Trinity (or any number of exceptionally talented people who work at Gather) – it is the service.

Rules are made to be broken. Above all, remember that your current rules are just that – current. Challenge them. See how far they bend before they break (under controlled conditions). The new rules will become the pillars on which to build your business through a process of evolution, rather than ones you enforced simply because that’s how business has been.

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