How Do I Become A Strategic Partner?

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Shorter Version

Est. Reading Time: 3 Minutes

The tenets

In my last article I addressed the question, How Do I Enhance My Marketability?’ by listing 6 personal tenets critical to becoming a ‘Strategic Partner’ in the business world:

  • Personal Credibility
  • Business Knowledge / Project Management
  • Strategic Contribution
  • Interpersonal Engagement / Oral Presentation Manner & Style
  • Managing Around Time Demands & Time Constraints
  • Leading Others by ‘Connecting’ with Them

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Motivational Theory depicts the top level of the ‘Needs Pyramid’ as Self-Actualization (See Simply Psychology’s ‘ Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,’ by Saul A. McLeod (2018, May 21)). In a business setting, Self-Actualization would translate to ‘Becoming a Strategic Partner.’ 

These tenets are unwavering as to how they impact the formation of a strategic partner. However, as a stand-alone list, they mean little. So…in this article, and in subsequent monthly articles, I intend to dissect each of the tenets to provide a clearer understanding of the significant role each plays. This month’s article will focus specifically on the Personal Credibility tenet and its first qualityHealthy Self-Image.

Personal credibility

What then constitutes the Personal Credibility tenet? Quite simply, they are the 8 Personal Qualities that define you as a person. They determine how others see you…their perception of you. In the early stages of building credibility, PERCEPTION IS REALITY

These 8 Personal Qualities are the critical benchmarks that others use to determine your effectiveness as a person, a professional, and, eventually, as a leader:

  • Healthy Self-Image
  • Boardroom Presence
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Awareness
  • Personal Substance / Professionalism
  • Relationship & Team Building Skills
  • Presentation Manner & Style
  • Bearing Under Pressure

All 8 personal qualities are critical but if you do not feel good about yourself the other 7 qualities are for naught. What’s most important is how you see yourself and whether your perception of yourself jibes with reality.

Perception Becomes Reality in the Eyes of Those Forming & Holding that Image.”

Reflect on your self-image and perception

Reflect on your self-image and determine how others might see you. A good way to start this is by:

  • Doing an honest self-assessment.
  • Asking others to provide you a ‘candid’ assessment of how they view you.

Keep in mind that too much of what is fashioning people in our society today is specific to Narcissism, as opposed to Ego Development. There are many reasons for this, such as too much emphasis on ‘I know what others are doing…and I want to do as much, or more.’ Also, commercialism has been hyped up to a point where people want more than is really necessary. The key is to remember that real LEADERS gain credibility and respect for taking care of others as opposed to remaining focused on themselves. It’s NOT about you. It IS about Others. 

The good, the bad and the ugly

Feel good about who you are. List all your positives then take a close look at those areas of feedback that indicate some degree of deficiency and design a plan to improve.

Get through past negative experiences. In some cases, you will not be able to get over some experiences you have had but you must get through them. For me, my father was a severe chronic alcoholic and his behavior created a very difficult environment in which to fully enjoy childhood and adolescence. The environment certainly impacted my ability to do well academically. However, I decided to learn from the experience; it made me stronger as an individual as I refused to allow it to scar me. Some people need professional assistance to get to this point and that is ok. Whatever the journey, in the end, you must get there.

Try this!

Read resources on Franklin Roosevelt and Helen Keller to gain an appreciation of the value of Resilience. FDR’s Splendid Deception by Hugh Gallagher is a tremendous read on this topic.

Be a magnet

Work on developing a degree of charisma. Become a ‘living magnet.’ People will be attracted to you via your presence, warmth, and sincerity. Then you couple this with strong personal character by always being there in time of need. Be seen as civil, strong, humble, with uncompromising integrity.

As time goes on, you will receive positive feedback from others on your actions…directly or indirectly…which you will internalize. This feeling of satisfaction on the positive impact you are having on your environment will greatly enhance your self-image. From this point, you will be able to continue to do even more for others and, in time, you will be selected for leadership roles because of the positivity you continue to generate. You become one who clearly understands that; as Earl Nightingale often stated in his magnificent Lead the Field teachings, “Your environment is a merciless mirror of you.”

 “A good self-image does not follow success; it precedes it.”

– Robert L. Shook

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Actionable Steps


Read each of the forthcoming articles specific to ‘Becoming A Strategic Partner.’

Each forthcoming article will highlight a specific tenet of ‘Becoming a Strategic Partner.’ Keep reading to fully reap the benefits of the tenets.


Read the outside resources

‘Outside resources’ specific to supporting each tenet will accompany these articles. Review these ‘outside resources’ for a deeper understanding of the particular tenet, and, as you glean information from these articles and outside resources, begin to put their lessons into play.


Practice makes perfect

Attempt to perfect each of the tenets of a ‘Strategic Partner.’ A great way to do this is by weaving the ‘Behaviors’ and ‘Core Competencies’ into your Performance Goals at work.


Ask for feedback

Ask for feedback specific to these areas of improvement. This can come from your partner, co-workers, or manager.

Coaches For All Your Self-Improvement Needs!

About the Author

William Bagley

William Bagley

CEO & Personal Advisor, Bagley Consulting

With more than 35 years of experience leading HR & Recruiting, Career Development, and Leadership Coaching efforts for business professionals throughout the United States, Bill is the perfect resource for all things “Career.” For 20 years, he served as Regional HR & Recruiting Leader for Deloitte, retiring as a Firm Director. During his tenure, Deloitte was named, six times, to Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.
Full Bio | LinkedIn

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