In the next conversation between the two companies, our partner reiterated they would be unable to use the product.
Dowpharma: "But you never said what shade of yellow you wanted, and there isn't a color spec! Our product is a yellow particle."
Partner: "You never asked for a color spec and it is definitely not the color we can use. Nice try, though."
So, there we were, with nothing to show after eight months of arduous work except a few metric tons of very yellow "in-spec"
product, and significant expense. The terms of our contract were payment upon delivery and acceptance of the product. We all
knew what that meant.
Our business had just experienced a very costly lesson, and we were determined to learn from it and share our insights, to
help others avoid the same mistakes.
Technical capability is critical, but not enough
The first thing we learned was that even though technical capability, which we certainly had, is of value, it cannot stand
by itself. Most established manufacturing organizations have great technical capability and it is often the factor organizations
have the most confidence in; it is also the most measurable.
The Importance of Trust
Relationships should include multiple points of contact
We reconfirmed the importance of relationships and the need to:
- Establish many—not just one—points of contact
- Communicate regularly
- Clarify our partner's goals
- Commit time to our partner and their success
- Allow ample time for our experts to get to know theirs
Define and care about your partner's success
Often, we assume we know what success looks like for our partner, but we never really ask them or take the time to write down
their response. It is important to do so, and to keep reminding ourselves of their vision for success. It is important to
help partners articulate their vision of success by asking detailed questions about aspects they may not be considering.
What´s in a Word?
Commit time to them and their success
There is no better measure of your priorities than where you spend your time. Make time for your partner's questions and needs,
and be sure they know how much time you are dedicating to their success.
Provide time for your organization's experts to get to know your partner's experts
One of the keys to really understanding the technology is to not filter technical discussions through second- or third-hand
explanations. Once the project is under way, provide opportunities and forums for the technical experts of each partner
to communicate directly. The best forum is a face-to-face meeting. If this is not feasible, provide other virtual means to