Associations are looking for innovation: innovative ideas, innovative approaches and more in order to stay relevant and deliver member value. They often seek out innovative products or tools to help them with this mission.
Technology plays a part with innovation, but cultural alignment with business partners directly impacts whether an innovative idea ever takes flight. With all of those moving parts, one critical item often overlooked in the decision making process is cultural alignment between your organization and that of possible partners. How do you assess cultural alignment?
Evaluate shared values and past behaviors:
- Research the Culture. Glassdoor is a great way to gauge the culture and how an organization actually lives (or does not live) to its values. Look for patterns. ReviewMyAMS.com is another one.
- Gut Check. First impressions are not everything and you have to be careful of unconscious biases but register how you feel about your partner initially and as you go along. Did you feel empowered? Talked down too? Important or like a number?
- Visit the Physical Location. What is their office environment like? Does their online brand really reflect who they are, or is it marketing fluff?
- Leadership. Does leadership truly believe in the organizational values or are they simply words on the wall or in a brochure? Schedule a meeting with senior leadership and find out whether the cultural messages are really coming from the top. Do they see themselves as a vendor or a true partner?
- Communication Frequency. How regularly will you communicate? Talking to the vendor only during emergencies is not a best practice.