The coronavirus has caused major disruptions in the global economy and significant chaos for the people of China. It has been encouraging to see how the people of world have responded in their attempt to help each other, minimize the impact of this virus, and find an antidote. This is a perfect, real-life example of the strategic partnerships that are so prevalent in our industry and essential for the success of organizations that engage in them. Here are some key elements of a successful strategic partnership:

1. Intimate Knowledge: This is one of the most critical parts to strive for in a successful strategic partnership, and it doesn’t matter if you are on the buyer or seller side. This in-depth knowledge of each other can only be achieved through in-person and phone contact. As the old saying goes, “People do business with people they know, trust, and like.” Many people often question the purpose of meetings, lunches, dinners, and special events, but this is how we get to that pinnacle point of a relationship.

2. Trust: This is core element in developing a long-term strategic partnership. This is only achieved by having each other’s back and delivering success on a regular basis. This can take years to develop, but once it is achieved, great things happen. Unfortunately, we live in a transactional world, which is not conducive to building trust. How hard are you working to move from a transactional relationship to a strategic partnership? Do your relationships extend to multiple levels in both organizations?

3. Creative Solutions: During times of disruption, it is critical to “think outside of the box” for solutions. In a highly collaborative relationship, this practice of going through the “what if” scenarios will create mutual, beneficial opportunities for the buyer and seller. This is often a difficult thing to do because most people don’t like to get out of their comfort zones.

As we are going through these disruptive times, it is critical to review your current strategic partnerships and ascertain where you are and where you need to be. If you are not where you want to be, then you need to take these relationships to a higher level. Simultaneously, you may want to look at developing new strategic partnerships. Which organizations are in the market that can help your company achieve its goals? Remember, these strategic partnerships do not happen overnight; you need to invest time and money into them. This is a great year to strengthen your strategic partnerships and turn chaos into success!

Michael J. Ryan is the Executive Vice President at Preferred Shipping ( and has over 25 years of experience in the parcel industry. He can be reached at 708.224.1498 or