The past year we’ve been building a partner network at Modyo. We declared that we wanted to invite the right partners to our party who would be capable of disciplined delivery that would generate happy clients. As we visited clients the past years, time and again we would hear client complaints of software vendors that would execute through partners that left clients hanging, unhappy and stuck with a promise that was not delivered.
To this end when Juanma and other Modyo leaders were thinking about partners we wanted to start with the companies that had a history of delivery and clients that would recommend them. So we set out on our journey to convince smart partners that our product was solving a need important enough to matter to them and target clients. Essentially we’ve spent the past months investing in partners, providing solid training and certifications, listening and learning from them.
Behind selecting great partners to deliver for clients has been two important reasons for us to work with world class partners.
Build our capacity to actively listen and absorb problems from a broader base of friends living the reality of building digital experiences.
Generating a value stream that will help us evolve into the company we believe is possible.
Related to the first point, more than ever, I am trying to speak less and listen more. After finishing the book Trillion Dollar Coach and reflecting on Bill Campbell you can see that there is a base of principles that will increase your probability of success. Listening is one. In describing Bill, the authors describe Bill below:
"In a coaching session with Bill, you could expect that he would listen intently. No checking his phone, texts, or email, no glancing at his watch or out the window while his mind wandered. He was always right there..."
Alan Eustace called Bill’s approach - “free-form listening” - academics might call it “active listening,” a term first coined in 1957 - and in practicing it Bill was following the advice of the great UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, who felt that poor listening was a trait shared by many leaders…
Bill’s listening was usually accompanied by a lot of questions, a Socratic approach. A 2016 Harvard Business Review article notes that this approach to asking questions is essential to being a great listener: “People perceive the best listeners to be those who periodically ask questions that promote discovery and insight.”1
Following Bill’s character trait, at Modyo we’re trying to generate the key partner relationships that will help us listen, understand and continually discover how to add the right value to our partners that will deliver world class digital experiences to our shared clients.
The second reason we’re building out our partner ecosystem is because we feel that having the best feedback loop as part of our value stream is fundamental. Mik Kersten in his book Project to Product, talks about the importance of a value stream and structured metrics to make business value happen. Having partners that help us identify product-market fit and customers needs increases our probabilities of evolving the right product to solve needs that really matter.
We see partners for us as an important part of our value stream to align us with the needs of our customers in different markets. As Mik explains about product-market fit and value stream:
“It strikes me that this is exactly how we need to think about software delivery. Instead of pretending that we can precisely predict the future in terms of product market fit and scalability, we need to clearly define the success metrics for our value streams and create them in a way that supports the adaptability and extensibility. We need to architect our software and organizations around our value streams, not the other way around.”2
Partners designing solutions to declared problems will be a key part of our value stream moving forward. Sharing knowledge, establishing trust, drilling down into the underlying issues to create meaningful value for customers requires an ecosystem where there is constant listening, processing and adapting to new realities. Everyone at Modyo has been undergoing a series of evolutions where active listening and metrics are core to our success. By establishing structured feedback loops with partners we can succeed together delivering value that matters to global customers.
1 Schmidt E., Rosenbert J., Eagle A. (2018)Trillion Dollar Coach, https://www.amazon.com
2 Kersten, Mik. (2018). Project to Product, https://www.amazon.com