The Power of Partnership

Written by Chuck French on 5/13/19

One of the guiding principles at Mutare is developing deep and long-term partnerships with employees, clients, business partners and other stakeholders. It’s a core attribute that has led to Mutare’s longevity and success. We think it’s applicable to all relationships.

We take partnering with others seriously. Tracey Powell, one of Mutare’s owners and founders even developed a definition of partnership to remove ambiguity. This definition of partnership won’t be found in a business textbook. As Netflix famously states in their presentation on culture and performance, “adequate performance gets a generous severance package”, our view on partnership is ours and ours alone. Hence, this article is educational for those that want to work with Mutare. It’s a view that’s served Mutare and its partners well for decades. Partnership is:

“…a commitment to fairness and “win-win”, sharing risk & reward, putting skin in the game, communicating openly, and dealing with problems head on.”

Depending on the stakeholder, partnership manifests itself in different ways. For example:

  • Our clients expect us to treat them fairly and for the long-term. We exhibit behavior that reminds me of Carl Sewell’s philosophy in “Customers for Life”. We are not about the “one” transaction. Rather, we always look for a “win-win” and prefer to have a mutually beneficial long-term relationship that leads to a wider and deeper partnership. Many of our products have been jointly developed with our clients. In fact, it would be impossible to innovate without the active participation of them.  Low client attrition is one proof point that our philosophy works. In addition, we have conducted research during our corporate brand identity refresh and found that our clients believe they receive great technology, support and value from Mutare. That’s what good partners do.
  • Mutare has built a reputation as being the “easiest business partner to work with” in the business partner / reseller community. We have been so easy, for so long, that we are revisiting our own definition of partnership with our business partners to ensure that we are adhering to our own standards of “win-win” and fairness. With that in mind, we have become more selective in choosing our business partners. If you are a business partner of Mutare, we now expect a different level of engagement more befitting of a “partnership”. That may mean access to the sales teams to conduct training, setting mutual revenue goals, strategic planning around named accounts and perhaps hosting joint marketing events (conferences, webinars, etc.). We both need “skin in the game”. Without it, there’s no partnership.
  • When an employee joins Mutare there is an overwhelming hope that Mutare is “the last business card they’ll ever have” – a common statement from Ben Crown, President of Mutare. This sentiment is real and has led to low turnover, high engagement, and a sense of community. The two-way commitment may not be fashionable in today’s transactional job market, but partnering with employees empowers innovation, trust and responsible risk taking. Partnering with our employees is a foundational element of the organization. This view can’t be taken as an absolute commitment – sometimes employees don’t fit Mutare’s culture despite everyone’s efforts. Culture trumps everything.

From our perspective, partnering with employees, clients and business partners is not a “set it and forget it” concept that can run on autopilot. It needs to be constantly revisited and calibrated to make sure parties are aligned and are achieving their respective goals, together.

If you are new to Mutare or old to Mutare, consider partnering with us. It’s worth the effort.