Why Partnerships Like Rihanna & Eminem Work

Have you noticed some of the unlikely partnerships in music lately?  Beyonce and Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Eminem, Nelly and Tim McGraw, or Taylor Swift and John Mayer.

These partnerships are formed not because they want to hang out together, but because it helps get their music to more listeners and expand their market.  When Eminem received his Grammy this year, he thanked Rihanna for helping his music get out to a broader audience.  So, this was a mutually beneficial partnership.

Leaders need to build partnerships with other leaders to do big things.  If you want to build sponsorship for a new product, influence investment in a key technology or change a critical process, you’ll have a tough time going it alone.

Recent example:
An HR executive wants to introduce social media to realize their people agenda.  Meanwhile, an IT leader had invested in new social media technology in anticipation of influencing the organization to move in this direction.  These two leaders have a natural alliance to achieve success based on their objectives, but also for the broader organization.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you are about to embark on a new change and need some partners:

  1. What other groups or individuals will benefit from the outcome of this change?
  2. Is there any element of my strategy that will be a positive for any other individuals or groups or that ties to their objectives?
  3. Who in my sponsor group will see this change as part of their core beliefs or strategy?
  4. Who is willing to take a bold position to make real progress?
  5. Are there any changes I can make to my approach that will create some key partners, but still allow me to achieve my objectives?

So, before you start down the path by yourself with just your team, remember Rihanna and Eminem and consider if there may be another “artist” interested in a duet.