It is 1 a.m., and you are reviewing the contract from your newest learning partner. There it is, the seventh paragraph in: the term you thought you spent weeks coming to agreement on, and it is sticking out like a sore thumb.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

You are two months into a project, and during a meeting, you realize that you and your development partner are not aligned on parameters. Then, he whips out the dreaded “This is not in scope” comment.

Did you just feel that remark in the pit of your stomach?

You launched a learning experience three months ago, and you just discovered a functionality issue. You are dreading reaching out to your partner to address the fix. The headache sets in.

These situations are what happens when your learning partner is not your “ride or die” partner.

Finding the Right Fit

Working with a learning partner does not have to induce a sense of panic or dread — provided you know how to find the right one. Selecting the right learning partner is not as easy as swiping left or swiping right. It starts with evaluating the alignment of the potential partner to your organization. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does this potential partner align to our organization culturally?
  • Does its values mesh well with ours?
  • Who is on the team? What is the background of the resources we will be working with?
  • What experiences does the potential partner bring to the table?
  • Does the potential partner have the capabilities to deliver on the objectives of your project?

If the company ticks these boxes, you are halfway there. If not, you may be on your way to a few sleepless nights.

Do They See What You See?

Another important aspect of selecting the right partner is ensuring that the company has a vision of success that aligns to your vision of success. What is its philosophical point of view? Does it have a future orientation? Is it inherently curious? Vision, point of view and curiosity are important attributes for a potential partner. If you find that the company simply seeks to check the boxes or leans more toward being an order-taker, it may not be the right partner for you. A great partner not only delivers on your expectations; it exceeds them and surprises and delights.

As you are selecting your learning partner, ask each company for examples of how it has gone above and beyond for its clients. These examples don’t have to be epic hero journeys (although there may be some of them, too) but should include moments of surprise and delight. Those small touches and embellishments add value to the learner’s journey or to the overall outcome of the project.

To Mars and Back

So, what happens when you have found your unicorn — your ride or die partner? It is an opportunity for you and your team to go to Mars and back. Is an opportunity to push the envelope, try new things, and explore the contours of possibility with a partner that influences but doesn’t dictate.

We hope this article inspires you to find a ride or die partner for your training organization!