Partnering with Intent – The Importance of Cultural Alignment


To advance the latest thinking about workforce management in the digital age, Rural Sourcing authored a breakthrough white paper entitled “Partnering with Intent: A new approach to dealing with the shortage of tech talent.”

This second post explains how cultural alignment serves as a foundational element of the Partnering with Intent™ (PWI) approach. While alignment of core values and purpose starts with employees, electing to partner with companies that share this vision sets the stage for success. This same approach can also be applied to customer relationships, which builds company’s revenues and reduce customer churn.

As IT leaders acknowledge that a lack of digital talent is the number one obstacle to achieving their business objectives, the role of augmented talent takes on a new criticality. However, many IT executives find when they go to market looking for digital technology assistance that the needed talent is out of reach financially.

Ideally, the companies that provide digital talent go beyond looking at current projects and priorities. Partners who stand out from the crowd go the extra mile to proactively learn their customers’ mission, values and cultures. The third part tech providers screen their talent for fit as well as function. This proactive approach can help assure that external talent not only performs as needed but fits into the organization seamlessly. For example, digital talent that “fits” not only understands the company’s mission, they are empowered to contribute to pivotal discussions and share their expertise freely with all levels of the client’s IT organization.

However, cultural integration requires time and commitment on both sides of the partnership. One of the first steps to building this partnership-based culture is to recognize that whether the culture has been built intentionally or not, it already exists. Sometimes, it’s an LCD culture (Least Common Denominator), which forms based on the two partners’ attitude, actions and language. These haphazard relationships break easily because they are fragile and, at times, accidental. In most cases, LCD cultures leverage the interests of the dominant partner, often at the expense of the second partner resulting in suboptimal outcomes.

Intentional Partnerships, such as those advocated in the PWI model, require that both partners make a daily commitment to ensuring that everyone at the table shares the organization’s values and mission – even as these essential elements change and evolve. In this environment, true partnership becomes part of each IT team’s DNA.

Remember that PWI can be applied to more than your relationship with your external digital talent resources. Extend that approach to your customers and you’ll likely see more long-term relationships with them as well as a healthier contract renewal rate. One company that continually focuses on cultural alignment with its customers boasts of an average customer relationship of 17 years and a 100% renewal rate at the end of the first contractual period. If you had those kinds of intentionally built and maintained customer relationships, what would that do to your ability to deliver technology to the business and ultimately your bottom line?

In our next post in the Partnering with Intent series, we will explore how a flex culture, the next step of cultural alignment, unifies a workforce made up of in-house and contingent resources.


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