Kip Tindell’s book, "Uncontainable”, walks the reader through The Container Store’s Founder & CEO’s seven step guide on building long term value and growth through “conscious capitalism”.  One of the steps in the book is titled: “Fill the other guy’s basket to the brim”, which is a concise directive to give more than what is expected to your business partners.  Kip details that since the very beginning, The Container Store made sure that its suppliers were well compensated, that they were forgiven when shipments fell behind, and the retailer ensured that payments were made on time.  Kip’s motivation to “fill the other guy’s basket to the brim” was to ensure that if The Container Store treated its suppliers well when times were good, they’d’ support the chain in bad times.

The bad times came in 2008 when The Container Store’s business fell at the same pace as the US economy.  During those hard times, The Container Store’s partners proved to be vital to the retailer’s survival as they forgave shipment cut backs, tighter prices, and slower inventory turns.  Keeping the other guy’s basket filled to the brim proved to be integral to The Container Store’s survival.

Partners are often labeled as two independent entities that join to deliver a product, project, or service, but in reality partners are everywhere.  Partners are suppliers and vendors who are outside the company but are partnered with the firm to achieve shared goals.  Partners are the people who work at the company and dedicate their own time and talent to its betterment.  Clients are also partners; as it is in the company’s best interest to support its clients to achieve their goals and initiatives.

As in life, business partnerships are dependent on shared values.  Every successful company is filled with employee “partners” who identify and live up to the company’s own core values.  Similarly, two companies with different goals can be partners, but if they have contradicting core values, a partnership will never work.  The inherent challenge of aligning corporate values is one of the big reasons why there are so few successful partnerships in the technology industry.

Aligning corporate values is so critical to a successful partnership that when I met PerformIT CEO, Armin Alt, in a hotel lobby in Birmingham, England, we didn’t talk software and data.  Instead, we talked about our own personal journeys as business owners.  We talked about the struggles and the achievements, the long hours, and the great milestones.  We agreed that our success is through our people and that without a smart, empowered team, we would be lost.  We agreed that a person’s true worth is measured in their personal integrity and that handshake deals are the most valuable.  Together, Armin and I aligned the shared values of our companies and then the conversation moved on to software code and go-to-market strategies.

gap intelligence’s partnership with PerformIT is a milestone that I am extremely proud of because it was built on the right foundation.  We are two great companies that cherish our people and are proud of the work that we do.

PerformIT makes awesome software called SalesDrive that helps companies sell more Managed Print Services business.  gap intelligence produces awesome data that powers SalesDrive and gives companies credibility in what they’re selling.  Together we have delivered, “SalesDrive, powered by gap intelligence” – great software powered by great data and supported by great people.

Our clients will notice the difference and see the value in working with two great companies who have aligned core values.  We both know that by keep our people and clients’ baskets filled to the brim, we’ll be filling the basket of a strong and valuable partnership.