Being Great Isn't Good Enough Anymore

Business partnerships are about learning to leverage the best of what others can bring to the table for mutual benefit and growth.

By Enette Pauze

When new general managers are brought in to fix professional sports teams, the first two things they do are wipe out the underperforming, unmotivated, unwilling-to-adapt-to-change staff, and bring in THEIR people. Why? Because having the right people, in the right roles, at the right time is the difference between success and almost success. When you have a partnership that works, don’t mess with it! And when your legacy and millions of dollars are at stake, you don’t want to be left holding the dirty diaper.

Every day you engage in partnerships (teams) that influence your reputation and your results. Your relationships can be collaborative or competitive, transactional or transformational. Business partnerships are about learning to leverage the best of what others can bring to the table for mutual benefit and growth.

Are you still trying to be the all-star?

When was the last time you saw a professional sports team carried for an entire season by just one player? Sure, a superstar can lead, inspire, and significantly influence the mindset and performance of other team members. But a superstar never wins the season alone. What’s an all-star without his fans, his “kryptonite,” or his opposing villain? He’s just a guy running around in tights, dogging imaginary people, scoring on himself, and doing a victory dance while no one is watching ... looking like an idiot.

In any lab, we can’t win the season alone. We need to partner with our coworkers, our collaborators, and our competitors in order to thrive. (Did you just say, “What?! ”)

The difference between a competitor and a collaborator is a common enemy. The bigger the “enemy,” the bigger the opportunity there is for partnership. Cancer, hunger, poverty, space travel, illiteracy, and winning the Tour de France are challenges that require people to work together in new ways to find solutions to old problems.

If you want to run your lab like a business, learn to leverage three characteristics of successful partnerships. First, focus your team’s efforts on a common purpose. The bigger the problem you solve for the world, the more valuable you are and the more people want to help you. Second, work with people who love what they do (and I mean LOVE what they do). These partners require less energy to manage and are more creative because they are inspired and lead from within. And finally, have fun. Profane laughter and profound results go hand in hand.

The world is changing, and being great is no longer enough. You have to be great and work with other great people. What results are you working toward? And who’s helping you get there?

Be sure to attend Enette Pauzé’s Lab Manager Academy webinar “Partnership Synergy: It’s Not Enough to Be Great” on Wednesday, May 1 (or afterward at, to watch the archived video).

Published In

Going Greener Magazine Issue Cover
Going Greener

Published: April 1, 2013

Cover Story

Going Greener

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