The role of the business partner in organisations varies significantly from organisation to organisation.
From my own work and looking at the ideas and thoughts from others, I ‘ve noticed that:
- Some organisations are at the early stages.
- Some have implemented.
- Some have it fully embedded.
Whatever stage business partnering is at, what’s important to recognise is that your success comes down your relationships.
Not just within the wider organisation but with colleagues in finance and functional areas who will help you to do your role effectively.
So how can you build better relationships as a business partner?
Make it a priority
This might seem obvious. On the other hand is it something that you do in practice.
Speaking to those in Finance functions what I’m hearing is that it’s so easy to get focused on tasks and deadlines.
Start by trying to carve a small but consistent amount of time in your schedule just to focus on building and improving relationships.
Take interest in the person first
People work best with people that they get to know, like and trust.
It’s easy to see people as their job title and as a result make assumptions about them or buy into the stereotype way of thinking.
Taking an interest in the person first helps build connection and rapport. It helps you get to know them as an individual.
And, of course it minimises the risk of stereotyping others.
Understand their problems and challenges
A business partner collaborates with those that they work with to help them achieve results.
To do that effectively you need to understand their agenda.
You need to understand their problems, challenges, issues and aspirations.
If you do you won’t just build better relationships but be seen as the person who really brings ideas, suggestions and insight to the table.
In truth most accountants and other functional professionals are smart individuals. The challenge is often in the non technical areas which isn’t part and parcel of your professional qualifications.