Forming partnerships between your functional and technical teams can be instrumental to achieving larger business goals, but it doesn’t come without challenges. Alex Platt, Senior Manager of Talent Technology at Procore Technologies, and Nick Karoutsos, Director of Talent Operations at Procore, shared their recipe for a successful partnership, from common pitfalls to collaborative roadmaps. 

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Here are three ways you can empower your teams and create a strong partnership:

Build trust early on, and never stop 

Much like any relationship, trust is key to the success of your partnership. Both Platt and Karoutsos agree that building trust begins in the hiring process. Platt reveals that she and Karoutsos involve each other at the very front end of adding new team members and consult each other on hiring decisions—Platt even interviewed Karoutsos before he joined Procore. Not only was this the first test to see if their partnership would work, but this also set the precedent for including each other in hiring decisions when building out their respective teams. This type of open communication builds rapport and enables teams to know more about each other’s infrastructure, and as Platt says, allows the two teams to know “what we are doing and why we are doing certain things.” 

Communication is the baseline for forming trust for Karoutsos and Platt. They have regular check-ins and a routine feedback cadence which allows them to pivot in real-time. “We can be honest with each other when things are working and when they’re not,” says Karoutsos about their open communication style. 

Understand roles and responsibilities 

The second pillar of a successful partnership could not be possible without establishing trust.

When asked about the biggest pitfalls in a partnership, the duo highlights the dangers of not having clear swim lanes between teams and teammates. With a talented team, you are bound to have cross-over in skillsets and experience. “I think problem number one is just letting your ego get in the way a little bit and assuming you understand the other person’s world, just because you’ve worked in it. You have to remember what hat you’re wearing,” Platt comments. You have to build off the trust that you have already established to adhere to clear boundaries and roles and allow your team members to carry out their jobs. 

Communication, again, shares a large role in maintaining team roles and responsibilities. In a successful partnership, you can’t make decisions in a vacuum without having conversations with team members to iron out who will handle each task—then to trust they’ll bring it to the finish line. 

Prioritize alignment and knowledge sharing

The fact of the matter is, in any company, there will always be incoming talent, team mobility, and leadership changes. With these shifts come evolutions in vision and priorities, making alignment extremely important. Karoutsos and Platt mitigate friction by creating a collective roadmap. A collective roadmap opens the door for communicating each step of the process or project and getting feedback from all stakeholders. 

Alignment is also dependent on your team’s ability to share and cultivate knowledge. Karoutsos urges teams to not hoard knowledge, but rather “share knowledge as soon as you have it.” Platt chimes in to say that sharing knowledge is one side of the coin, the other, is thorough documentation. Documentation “take[s] a lot of time, and because things are constantly shifting, it is a challenge,” says Platt. And while it may be difficult to follow when there are deadlines and stakeholders to address, documentation is “the only way to get information out of your head,” claims Platt. 

A successful partnership hinges upon these three pillars, and none of them can fully support a partnership on its own. To hear the full conversation on the power of partnership, register for Systematic here

Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary Hodges is the Community Manager for Systematic.