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Principles of partnership: SEI and Benchmark Capital

Being conscious a partnership is mutually beneficial 

During their 10-year relationship, both organisations have shared a growth trajectory built on a drive for continuous improvement. This has been achieved, in part, by recognising and remunerating for the fact that great partnerships are mutually beneficial. The teams are ‘bolder together’ and therefore better equipped to tackle change and drive mutual growth.

Thinking about long-term commitment 

A partnership of this length requires real commitment—and cannot be taken on lightly. A true partnership requires time and effort and isn’t always easy. As Jo French, Former COO of Benchmark Capital observes: “It has been like a jigsaw, working out how to work best together. It has been a journey of ups and downs but focused on forever improving.’’

Getting comfortable with change

While the pandemic delivered uncertainty and mandated a significant change agenda, change wasn’t new for this team. Much of the working relationship has focused on managing change. The team actively acknowledges that change isn’t always comfortable and has found a way to embrace conflict and make it constructive by:

  • Finding a shared mission—understanding that both sides want to find the best outcome for the end customer.
  • Sharing visions of the future—knowing what each is planning to do in the mid-term so that you can work to the same horizons.
  • Being honest with each other—using the terminology “help me understand”—and encouraging an environment where the team can be comfortable  admitting they don’t know/understand/the answer might not fit. 
Cultural fit: team empowerment

Partnership works best when you find cultural fit around key values. In this instance, it was finding a shared approach to empowering teams in order to create scalable solutions. Anita Juneja, Head of Relationship Management and Client Service at SEI, says: “We empower our teams to have conversations at different levels, knowing they are all part of the success of making the relationship work.”

Coming together around problem solving to drive innovation

Both teams have a shared love of, and commitment to, problem solving. This isn’t always fire fighting, this is about spotting things that haven’t yet been ‘solved’ in the industry and working collectively to find, build, test and launch those solutions. Having a shared commitment to this approach leads to a positive relationship based on continuous improvement.

Discover our "Growing bold together" case study

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