15 September 2017

Selecting & Partnering for Long Term Success - Gui Gu Zi's Wisdom#5 C3 内揵 Inner Bonding

After you know yourself and others already, what criteria are there for you select a partner? Furthermore, you need to persuade him/her to join your plan. After that, what does it takes to build the long-term relationship? Gui Gu Zi will tell you.
The Levels of Partnership:

There are usually three. The lowest level is there is no partnership.  Everything is done through transactions as the needs arise. The second level is the partnership in form, in the contractual agreements, but not in the heart.  Things are done to the minimum standard to satisfy the requirements. The highest level is the close partnership in form and in the heart.  Relationships exist beyond the contractual agreement. Each one takes care of the other and seeks to maximize the benefits of the whole partnership. There is no you and me but us together. This is the ideal that any partnership should seek after.  It is like a marriage of a husband and wife.

What it takes to get Heart & Mind Partnership? 3 Steps:

Step 1 - Shared Purpose and Values
Gui Gu Zi gives an example of the dilemmas in typical boss-staff relationships. The staff is physically close but is not trusted by the boss. The boss would rather consult a distance friend for important decisions. Gui Gu Zi gives the reasons, lack of virtues, difference in aspirations, differences in ways of getting things done,

Confucius also tells us, 道不同不可与相为谋 If the Dao/Philosophies are different, then we cannot plan together. Sun Zi's five factors of winning strategies also put Dao as the first factor. Dao, the philosophies of life, meaning, purpose, values represent the identity of a person and the culture of an entity.  I usually define Dao as the mission, visions, and values of an entity. That Dao gives rise to culture, the way things get done and valued in an organization.

A common reason cited for the failure of mergers and acquisitions is culture. Some even consider it as the number 1 reason. See for example The Root Cause Of Every Merger's Success Or Failure: Culture.  The author of the article defines culture as the entity’s behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, and environment. It does not differ much from my definition of culture as a mission is defined relative to one's existence in an environment. Visions and values determine the attitudes, behaviors, and relationships that one build.

Gui Gu Zi gives four types of reasons for the partnership.
  1. Sharing of Same Values and Virtues: Soul-Mates or Religions
  2. Sharing of Same Interests: Special Interests Group
  3. Sharing of Wealth: Business Joint Venture or Merger
  4. Sharing of Power or Status: Political Party or Social Causes.
These four types need not be separated in any particular partnership. The best is to have all four. Consider Apple Inc. People buy Apple products not just that they are good and easy to use. They have chosen Apple as a way of expressing themselves. To them, using Apple Products tell others that they have style, rich, good taste, smart, fashionable, innovating, etc. If any criticises Apple, it will be like insulting him. Such a one will incur his wrath.

So, the criteria for partnership is shared culture or shared purpose and values.

Step 2 Persuasion - Strategic Persuasion - A Definite Yes to Your Presentation

People must be persuaded to join you in your pursue. The unique contribution of Gui Gu Zi in persuasion is called "Strategic Persuasion". Most books on persuasion talk about persuasion as a standalone subject concentrating on the techniques, the words, the illustrations, the place and time etc of presentation. Better books on persuasion talk about Pre-suasion - the planning for the persuasion. Gui Gu Zi's Strategic Persuasion merges strategic planning, persuasion, and the understanding of the human hearts and desires into one integration phase.  With strategic persuasion, once you present, the answer will be a yes. Why? Because you have the good understanding of your potential partner aspirations and characters and the friendship of trust. You design your plans to maximize the mutual and shared benefits. Your plan is designed not just to benefit yourself but for the partnership.

Strategic persuasion begins with addressing the inner needs, the hearts of the potential partners or the ones you want to persuade.

Persuasion must speak to the hearts of the listeners. It must be done with sincerity, presented in logical sequence, appealing to desires, knowing the agreements and objections, speaking clearly about the gains and losses, and showing how the listener aspirations can be achieved.

Step 3 Execution - Success in Challenging Situations Build Lasting Trust

Trust can only be gained through a long period of demonstrated promises. When partners join you and the plan is executed, the initial outcomes must follow according to plans to gain trust. Even if things do not happen as plan, at least it was foreseen earlier and contingency plans can be put in place to gain the original desired outcome. More trust can be gained if the situations turn out to be worse than expected and yet you are able to adapt come out successfully. Building strong bond and trust is not about being faithful, but about the ability to do the right things in the ever-changing situations. Gaining the “Trust” in your ability to deliver even in bad times. Jack Ma of the Alibaba success said that CEO only has two important jobs. The first is to see the risks in good times and be prepared for it while his staff is celebrating the successes. The second is to see and lead the way out in a bad time when the staff is in a panic. Gui Gu Zi's strategizing and execution are very similar to Sun Zi's teaching and I will not repeat here. Please read the posts on Sun Zi's Art of War in Sun Zi and Other Strategists.

Any partnership goes through many phases of challenges before a lasting one is built. Please read
All You Need to Know about Team Building - The Combined Wisdom of East & West.

Lim Liat (c) 16 Sep 2017

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