The Process of Partnering: the what & why of our approach

When Henry Ford introduced mass production to the fledgling automotive industry, his objective was to make Ford cars affordable for everyone by optimizing manufacturing efficiencies. But then, he and his team discovered that people didn’t necessarily want the cheapest car. They wanted a car that made them feel special – a car with some style, that was safe – a car that they were proud to drive.

Whether providing a product or a service, its value to a customer depends on their goals. Success in earning and sustaining that customer’s business depends on the ability to discover what a customer values and why. Since customers must consistently evolve to meet the changing needs of a dynamic, global market, this exercise never ends.

At telos, we utilize a customer-partnering business development strategy in which we seek to understand an organization’s long-term strategic growth goals. We then propose program solutions to support goal achievement and shorter-term tactical needs. This approach provides more opportunities for telos. It’s also the most productive way to grow any business. As important, it enables us to demonstrate accountability, to earn trust and to be perceived as a true partner who cares more about our customers’ growth than we do about our own, as we describe in our foundational documents.

Customers hold goals tightly. It takes a process and time for them to reveal how they define success. We ask probing questions in a certain order, which helps customers articulate what’s important, why it’s important, and what barriers are constraining them. Our proposals then repeat this process, gathering more insight as we discuss. We like to propose a couple of approaches, because discussing the alternatives clarifies their priorities. This approach helps us arrive more promptly at a most preferred solution.
For telos, using customer partnering helps us make a difference for our customers, which leads to enduring relationships.

If you’d like to learn more about the telos partnering process, please contact me, Bob Schultek at and I’ll be in touch.