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Building strategic relationships

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Hornitschek
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
Some of us may be very good at organizing our time. Our schedules might be filled up to the minute with meetings, events and taskings that come our way. But, how many of us schedule time for building strategic relationships?

Each week as we tackle the mission, report our progress or complete assignments, we should set time aside to build partnerships with people around us who help us enable combat power.

How often have we talked with people over the phone or e-mail, yet never met in person? I know it happens all too often. Our schedules are quickly filled, but I have learned that when we take a few minutes to walk over to see where they work or create a time to meet, even more can be done to facilitate the mission. Personal meetings and interactions can also increase understanding and help us come up with ideas for improvements.

Building strategic relationships is achieved by making time to see, listen and learn from those around us. It's about taking what they have to offer and applying it toward our mission success. However, professional relationships are never just one sided, and should be looked at with an attitude of what we can do for each other as we move forward to achieve successful results in our work.

There are many examples of strategic relationships that can be found in the commercial industry. Companies create alliances to access a partner's resources, technologies, capital and people. Teaming up with others adds complementary resources and capabilities, enabling them to grow and expand more quickly and efficiently.

Smaller companies may use strategic alliances to benefit from more-established channels of distribution, marketing or brand reputation of well-known players, which helps with expansion, cost reduction, manufacturing and other supply-chain synergies.
The military certainly partners with the commercial industry and we'll work with these business partners for solutions to many of our requirements. However, I'm not only speaking to commercial relationships, but also to relationships with other government agencies, our community leaders and even members throughout Team Scott.

In the days of social media, it can mean we work on relationships electronically as well. From subscribing to blogs or following them on Twitter or Facebook, for instance, we can work to engage in meaningful conversations and feedback. Through these means we can show our support, connect them to others, offer solutions to questions posed ... the list is endless, really. We just need to remember that we're working to make connections by networking, not stalking ... by being helpful, not annoying. Building relationships is not about expecting an instant return, it's about creating a synergistic interaction that is professional, positive and creative.--not just exchanging favors.

Building these relationships, at all levels, takes time and work. How long as it been since you included on your calendar of events time to build partnerships? If it's been awhile, or if you've been at your job for some time and still need to find an opportunity to get over and meet your "e-mail" counterparts in person, then I would encourage you to do so now.

I have found that if I can focus on at least one partnership a week, then that will provide a strong foundation as the wing moves forward with its many activities and requirements. Let's continue to foster relationships with all of our Team Scott partners so we can continue Enabling Combat Power!