You can be the worlds number one contender, the very best in your field, but still fail to achieve success at the moment that counts. Despite all your skills something went wrong, a small detail caused failure just when you least expected it.
Take Chenglong Zhang, one of the worlds leading gymnastics and one of the biggest contenders for the gold medal at the 2014 Gymnastics World Championships. His technique was flawless, his momentum was great and his timing was perfect. He was seconds away from victory when it happened. His leather handgrip snapped, causing him to lose grip and to lose any chance of the victory that was within his grasp only seconds before.
This goes to show that you may be the most skilled, talented and eager professional out there, but if a failure like this happens you’re out of luck. Or maybe not? Zhang was no leather specialist, so he couldn't have known that this was going to happen. But if you want the best possible outcome for something you want to achieve, you need to own all the details. Each of us has our own talents and skills but we need the right partners to help us with the details needed to achieve the goal we have set out for ourselves.
Whether you are a world class athlete like Zhang or a business that strives for the best results, everyone needs a good team and great partners to get the results they want. Our industry is no exception. Most of the innovations in Fashion, automotive and home interior that our industry has produced in the last decade have been the work of great partnerships. Whether it is to create a car interior that will outlast the car, a chair made of the finest of leathers that feels luxurious to the touch, or a garment that has such a reduced environmental footprint that it embodies the true meaning of sustainable fashion.
The art of partnership is the art of thinking ahead. It is about implication analysis, process mapping and testing. About solving an issue before it becomes a problem. It is about creating value for your partners that allow them to achieve their goals and beat their competition.
Looking back at Zhang’s handgrip, there are a lot of possibilities that could have prevented that grip from snapping. More flexible leather perhaps, treatments with an abrasion-resistant coating, or even leather that is altered to suit the needs of the gymnasts. Many possibilities could have helped. But such insights come at a price. We are sure that Zhang would have been grateful if someone had thought of these solutions before he stepped into the arena. Fortunately a partnership between Innosport Lab Turnen in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Holland and KNGU, which was initiated by GMOS Consultancy B.V. and Firma Vadret, proved that looking forward together creates better results. They have improved the leather grip so that all gymnasts around the world now have one less thing to be concerned about.
It truly is great to learn from your mistakes, but sometimes it is better when your partners help you out by thinking ahead, especially when the stakes are so high. Thinking ahead will make you see endless possibilities before they are needed, and act on it. Because, if it can be imagined, it can be created!