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Four good reasons why you should collaborate with your competitors for partnership

This article gives you 4 different reasons to work with rather than against your competitors – are you making sure you practise them all?

You have spent years studying and training, you work long and hard in your firm. Your eyes are firmly set on your goal of making partner – ain’t nobody gonna get in your way!

Stop! Because although healthy competition is good, there are many times when working with your competitors will bring you more benefits in the long term.

In this article, Heather Townsend gives you 4 different reasons to work with rather than against your competitors – are you making sure you practise them all?

Today’s competitor is tomorrow’s colleague

Be careful how you treat people you meet on the way up. Not just because you might meet them again on the way down, but because when you do make partner, it’s likely that they will also join the partnership shortly afterwards (or, heavens forbid, shortly before!)  If you have a bad relationship with another partner, you are just going to be shooting yourself, and the firm, in the foot.

As a result, your candidacy for partner will be looked at with jaundiced eyes if you have a reputation within the firm for causing conflict and being difficult to work with.

Scratch each other’s backs

I often talk about the importance of a cast iron business case for partnership. You need to create this whilst doing a pressured job, bringing in and working with clients, building your reputation, sleeping and eating if you really must.  If you come across leads that are not right for you, but are right for a colleague, then pass them on!  You’ll find that at least some of the favours are returned, freeing up some precious time for you to devote to your career planning.  What goes around, comes around.

Hey! It’s a partnership, not a free-for-all

What does the word partnership mean? Does it mean a bunch of disparate personalities, all looking for their own advantage? Or does it mean a group of people working together towards a common goal?

Do I need to labour the point? Get a reputation for being collaborative and easy to get along with.

Your reputation is partly built on office gossip

If you treat someone badly – you won’t get away with it.  Someone, sometime, will report what you did, and the partners will hear about it.  Immediately, all the bad things I have mentioned above will be heaped upon your reputation. It’s just not worth it.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing if all firms worked like this? Can you think of any other good reasons why collaboration trumps competition?

This article originally appeared in a different form on the How To Make Partner website.

Author Credit

GTE thumbnail_100Heather Townsend helps professionals become the The Go-To Expert. She is the author of the award winning and best-selling book on business networking, the ‘FT Guide To Business Networking‘ and the co-author of ‘How to make partner and still have a life‘, and ‘The Go-To Expert’. Over the last decade she has worked with over 300 partners; coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices.

Heather blogs regularly at How to make partner and still have a life and works with future and current Big 4 partners and professionals from mid-tier firms all over the world

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