External partners are also knows as associates, channel partners, vendors, joint venture partners etc. depending on the depth and extent of engagement you enter into with them.
I have had a whole range of experiences with (external) partners over past 16 years. These range from the miserable to the heavenly, from the pitiable to the praiseworthy. At times we have lost time, energy and resources trying to develop some of them. At times, we have succeeded big time, and have developed enviably beautiful relationships.
So what are the ingredients of a successful partner development strategy? This post is not on that, but a few quick tips - trust, patience, and foresight. More on that later.
Overall, an interesting summit this should turn out to be. I will update my blog on Saturday night (on this event).
Since you have reached this far, let me share a very personal experience with you.
"One of my ex-employees who was heading a team, left the company in a huff some years ago, over a major difference of opinion. We pleaded that he complete his handing-over responsibilities properly to the new guy in-charge, and complete one very crucial external engagement assignment before leaving. I personally, literally, pleaded before him. He just did not budge. His words then were - "Sorry sir there is no point in discussing all this! I am leaving, and that's it." So, left with no choice, we settled his account and bid him a pleasant goodbye. Due to the unprofessional transitioning, we incurred heavy losses. Today, I got an email from that person (a cheerful email) declaring he has started his own software business and wants to sell an institutional management software to me. Imagine! He wants me to trust him now! Unfortunately, that is no longer possible. He has lost that golden opportunity. I was discussing with my senior colleagues today - if only he had given us a painless transition then, today's contract could probably have been his. As it is, we are looking for an ERP for PROTON and SBM. But that guy? Forget it! Even if he is the last ERP vendor in the world, we won't consider him. This is not because we don't like him as a person.. he may be great, but it is because he has lost all credibility. This thing - CREDIBILITY - is everything in business decision-making. Even if you have to incur some short-term loss today just to fulfil your promises, try to do justice to it. At least don't run away abruptly from your duty! Remember friends - if you ditch someone (especially your employer) badly today, you are likely to lose some BIG opportunity tomorrow. Life has a way of getting even. That's why my guiding principle has been - never be unfair to anyone, never under-deliver on any promise made, and never let anyone take you for a ride either."
You see, it is always a good idea to fulfil the commitments you make.