Why strive to be great? Isn’t good enough?
Jim Collins spent 5 years researching what distinguishes great companies from good companies. In concluding his classic book Good to Great, Collins addresses a question he received from a student “Why should I try to build a great company? What if I just want to be successful?”
In answering that question Collins shares his belief that when the work you do is meaningful to you, then striving towards doing your best is inevitable. He writes “Why greatness? … If you’re engaged in work that you love and care about, for whatever reason, then the question needs no answer. The question is not about why, but how.” When you care deeply about your work, then you are driven towards excellence.
With that sentiment in mind, I offer below a collection of ways that great partnership leaders distinguish themselves from good ones. These qualities are not restricted to those with “partnerships” or “business development” in their job title. Most of these characteristics apply to anyone building a partnership between two organizations, from the a junior sales rep to a marketing manager to the CEO.
My ask to you: I know many This for That readers have first-hand experience with good and great partnership leaders (as well as poor ones). After you read the examples below please reply with your own examples. I’ll publish a reader-generated follow-up if I receive enough of your examples.
Examples of Good vs. Great Partnership Leaders
Can you grow from good to great?
Maybe you read the list above and realized that you do not (yet) demonstrate all of the characteristics of a great partnership leader. I know I don’t always. Very few do. How you respond to that realization says much about your mindset. Do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Are leaders born or made?
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.”
- Vince Lombardi
“The hallmark of successful people is that they are always stretching themselves to learn new things.”
- Carol Dweck
This post was inspired by Shreyas Doshi, who writes extensively about the craft of being a great Product Manager. He’s an excellent follow on Twitter: @shreyas.
Lastly, Substack does not yet offer text tables, but Gavin in their customer service told me “I think that's a great suggestion.” He’s passed my request on to their Product team. Thanks for bearing with the table above that I hacked using an image file.
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