What things is your company NOT good at? Do your Channel Partners understand these limitations?

is blogging through each question in his book: 99 Questions to Jump Start Your Partner Channel Brain.

Question #28 in 99 Questions to Jump Start Your Partner Channel BrainEver heard of Game Theory? In a nutshell, game theory proves this important point:

“Playing a game cooperatively to achieve a mutual goal is always better than playing it with self-interest in mind. Put another way, a win-win strategy to achieve a common objective is always better than a win-lose strategy aimed at promoting self-interest.”

SupplyChain Management ReviewIn a recent Supply Chain Management Review, professors Kate Vitasek and Karl Manrodt tell us about game theorist John F. Nash who you may not know by name, but will certainly remember when I tell you he was the eccentric researcher featured in the movie, A Beautiful Mind.

In the article, Vitasek and Manrodt attribute Nash’s game theory to the success of McDonald’s—and specifically to McD’s relationship with its suppliers:

“The secret sauce of McDonald’s success is found within the long-term transparent relationships the company has forged with its suppliers. They are based on the firm belief that everyone in the ‘McDonald’s System’ can and should win.”

Hiring to your weaknesses

I can’t say I learned a lot from my MBA. Aside from the accounting and finance courses which were not part of my undergraduate engineering curriculum, most of the coursework was serving-after-serving of stale leftovers which had precisely zero application to the real-world.

But one principle I did learn was about hiring to your weaknesses—and avoiding the compulsion of hiring people who were mirror images of yourself.

Easier said than done.

“I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”
Groucho Marx’s Friars’ Club resignation

Let’s face it, it’s far more fun to be with people who think like you do. It’s easier to recruit and manage them because they’re your carbon copies. You know what to expect.

But we all know this is dangerous.

What do you stink at?

Discovering your weaknesses is the opposite of discovering your strengths. How many books have you read about discovering your weaknesses?

Think about it. While I have many on my own bookshelf about finding my strengths…

… not to mention all those personality and psychological assessments I’ve taken (Myers-Briggs, Glamour Magazine (I admit it), et al)… I have zero books on the topic of weaknesses.

I don’t have to “discover” them (I’m married…sorry, Honey). I am acutely aware of my weaknesses.

And you know yours.

For instance, your list (as a Vendor/Supplier/Manufacturer) might be…

We stink at:

  • Handling small orders
  • Custom orders
  • Extending credit
  • Staging work in process/just-in-time-inventory staging
  • Regular outreach to clients between purchases
  • Multinational/worldwide localization
  • In-field service, technical support
  • Finding competitive deals, deals we lost and weren’t aware of
  • Payment terms beyond net/30

Are you recruiting Channel Partners that complement your strengths? Have you created a win-win for your Channel Partners that takes advantage of their strengths and your weaknesses?


John Fox

John Fox

CEO - Founder at Venture Marketing
I’m an experienced, revenue-focused, B2B marketing leader especially devoted to the success of the direct and channel sales rep. After all, at the pivotal moment of truth—when reps meet one-on-one with qualified decision-makers—everything the company has put in place to make this meeting happen will be measured.
John Fox