Program for Client Managers: Developing Critical Skills for Successful Partnerships

In today’s global economy, many organizations have transitioned from employing functions – especially IT – in-house, to partnering with third-party providers, seeking access to top talent, expertise and cost-effective solutions. When these transitions occur without providing the remaining in-house IT managers new skills for vendor performance management, results suffer and frustrations and challenges arise on both teams.

Alignment Approach to Vendor Performance Management

In working with innovation-driven business teams and their outsourced IT partners, we have found that many partnerships lack clear expectations regarding roles, performance levels and shared definitions of success. Too often, the two teams operate as if they are adversaries, rather than partners linked at the hip. This lack of alignment often leads to poor execution and disillusionment with the vendor.

Performex’s Vendor Performance Management & Alignment Program was developed to build strong, collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships between organizations and their vendor partners. The interactive program leverages best practices for alignment with Performex’s proven ability to deliver real on-the-job behavorial shifts. The program includes a two day immersion workshop, where the client company’s managers are equipped with and practice utilizing a validated group of tools designed to deliver vendor accountability, effective delegation, exceptional communications and the “one team culture” required for flawless execution. As an option, the program may be coupled with corresponding vendor management development for the third-party providers. Workshop modules include:

Chaos to Alignment - Accountability Process

Accountability

Who owns project success? Successful partnerships demonstrate joint ownership and full engagement, which drive creativity and enhanced results. Program participants learn techniques for boosting engagement and creating a culture of accountability across the teams. Managers in attendance learn how to collaboratively develop shared KPIs and mutually agreed upon qualitative performance expectations and measurements moving forward. Managers gain key skills to hold their own employees and third-party providers accountable for superior results

Delegation

 For many IT professionals – hardwired for critical thinking and problem solving – giving up the work and delegating is a major challenge. To derive the maximum benefit from third-parties, letting them do the work is critical. Unfortunately we often see client companies micromanage or jump in to “fix” issues rather than creating a culture where the vendor partners feel accountable for great results and develop their own innovative solutions. During the workshop, each participant evaluates his / her resistance to delegation and develops a plan to overcome it. Furthermore, we provide the participants with a toolkit to deploy on the job to build mutual trust and credibility while ensuring the right teams are handling the right tasks.

Communication

Highly effective communication is critical to the successful delivery of outsourced projects and work. Geographic distance and cultural differences are the norm for third-party IT providers, and often serve as a largse barrier to the success of vendor partnerships. The communication module of the Vendor Performance Management & Alignment Program includes an examination of how cultures with high and low context communication styles impact effective communications and concrete methods to deal effectively with those differences. Our proprietary toolkit includes easy-to-apply techniques for ensuring mutual understanding and agreement regarding service quality levels.

Building Relationships and Influencing

With an education focused almost exclusively on technical knowledge, many IT professionals are not highly skilled in the art of influence or the ability to build relationships. By leveraging Performex’s expertise at developing technical managers into leaders, the program provides participants the key skills required to build relationships and influence others. Practice makes perfect, and program participants are prepared for on-the-job success through activities that allow them to practice influencing skills. Through influencing and relationship building, managers are able to build a “single, high performing” team between the client company and its IT partners.

Through the Vendor Performance Management & Alignment Program, the teams will:

  • Become skilled on techniques to move beyond Several Level Agreements to secure a common understanding of what performance excellence looks like in terms of deliverables
  • Identify qualitative metrics to ensure that expectations are aligned
  • Outline a cadence for highly efficient meetings and results reporting
  • Preempt potential issues due to poor communication, delegation and unmet expectations
  • Build a collaborative relationship with the mutually agreed upon goals of delivering exceptional results while operating as a single, united team

Are you interested in strengthening your IT partnership through the Performex Vendor Performance Management & Alignment Program? Please contact us to learn more.

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