Building blocks of a Quantico Partner team

Partnership Director

Partnership Directors are key to scaling a people based business. Their experience and high standards increase the depth of impact we have on each startup and by doing it across multiple teams they multiply our potential breadth. By setting the right values now we can create an organisation that outlives all of us.
Our FinOps Leads, Managers and Associates are great; they are the face of our brand and their time is the product that we sell.
But they need support...
They sometimes lack the confidence to say how long a task should take, and worry that they aren’t getting enough done. When clients demand more they feel pressured to work longer hours.
The longer they spend working with clients the more pressure they feel to act as an employee rather than a consultant.
The more time they spend on detailed work the harder it becomes for them to focus on the big picture and plan ahead.
What does a Partnership Director do?
The Partnership Director is ultimately responsible for our relationship with our Partners and the service we deliver. Specifically they are expected to:
Support and oversee our teams in delivering outstanding finance teams
Set and continuously reset expectations and a scope that works for both parties
Build relationships that are productive for both parties
Meeting Name
Meet the team
Every new prospect
PD, Sales Manager, Prospect
Onboarding call
Every new partner
PD, FinOps Team, New Partner
Team check in
PD, FinOps Team
Partner check in
PD, Partner
There are no rows in this table

Primary activities of a Partnership Director

When should I step in and when should I let the FinOps team solve their own problems?
To an extent it depends on the nature of the problem and we have provided more information on specific questions throughout this guide. Ultimately it’s much more important that a problem is solved than it being solved in the ‘correct’ manner.
As PD your primary objective is always to ensure that our interests are met: we have the right scope and we are delivering to the right standard.
If you can do that by delegating and coaching the FinOps Manager that’s fine.
Although you can delegate tasks you cannot delegate the responsibility.
Scope changes
When does it happen?
All of our clients are growing rapidly, so it’s normal that their finance function will grow too. It’s up to us to plan ahead and know when it’s time to increase our scope, it’s not up to our clients. Many founders are used to pushing their team harder when they need more done, it’s our job to translate their problem into a solution: more time.
Immediate flags the conversation is overdue
You’re feeling rushed to get everything done in the time available
Every time you start working with the client there’s a list of tasks waiting for you
You feel like you don’t have time to catch up or keep Process St up to date
There’s no room in the scope to handle unplanned extra work
The longer you ignore the issues, the worse it gets
If you miss a deadline or make one mistake clients lose confidence quickly
If a client starts asking you to complete tasks and you respond they get the impression that they are managing the process
Finance gets a reputation for being a function that restricts growth, rather than limiting it.
The conversation:

1) Introduction
In addition to keeping the finance function running on a day to day basis, it’s also my responsibility to make sure we’re planning ahead for the future
2) Gathering information

Start with empathy. What is your client feeling? Ask them how they think things are going from their perspective.
If you’ve left it late to have the meeting they will already have concerns. Draw them out and take the time to understand what’s causing them.
It’s important because:
Your client feels listened to and understood
You have more information about how they will react before you speak

If the client has raised a valid criticism - own it and thank them. We are hungry for criticism and welcome the opportunity to improve.
I’ve got some ideas on how finance can better support the business. Before I jump in though, how are things going from your perspective?
What is going to be different about the business in six month’s time? What will the finance function need to do to support that?
3) The pitch

Unlike in the sales process there are multiple acceptable outcomes.
As long as clients appreciate that they can’t have both a small fee and extra time then the conversation has been a success.
The easiest way to communicate that is by giving them the choice.
As consultants we always have an opinion, but the client will make the final decision.
Recently I’ve found that there are more things that we want to do in the finance function than we can effectively get done in the time available.
For example last week the X work took up all the time available, but I then also needed to step in to support the Ops team, and you asked me to attend the other meeting.
As I see it we have a choice:
We can either increase the time available to X days a week. This would enable me to both get done both the important reports AND have time to support the other teams
Or we can keep the same time in and prioritise more closely.
Based on what you told me [in gathering information] my recommendation is that we do A. What do you think?
4) Objections

It was your fault that it took so long last month, you're too slow

This is the one people are afraid of, but I’ve never actually heard it said.
Team handovers are the only time we will accept a time cost.
Firstly I’m really sorry that was your experience, but I’m glad to have a chance to understand your concern [take the opportunity to get more info and ask for specifics]
As you know our service is based on time spent rather than tasks performed. That’s how we’re able to be flexible to whatever comes up and part of your team. I do track the time I spend and I’m happy to go through that with you.
As a team we pride ourselves on running startup finance functions more efficiently than anyone else.
Is there maybe a certain task that you’d like us to stop doing or to do more training on?
It took longer last week, but that was clearly a one-off

I agree that there were a few unexpected things that came up that made last week especially challenging.
I work across a number of startups, and I have learnt that unexpected things generally always happen.
In my view it would be sensible for us to allow a little extra time to deal with ad hoc issues and support the other teams. It won’t go to waste because there’s a huge amount we need to get done, and I can take more off your to-do list.
Like I said I think that’s the choice we have:
We can either assume that unexpected things won’t come up, and where they do we’ll have to be quite strict in stopping
Or we can keep extra time in ready for them.
Based on what you told me earlier I really think B is going to be best but it’s ultimate your decision. What do you think?
At that price I should just hire someone full time?

I like how you’re thinking. We definitely shouldn’t rule out the option of hiring someone full time. In fact I think there will come a point in around X months where that will be right for the business.
However rather than looking at the cost in isolation, I think we need to come back to the forecast and what you told me earlier [in gathering info], and work out what we need from the finance team to achieve and support our targeted growth.
I don’t think we’re ready to hire a full team right now. We shouldn’t underestimate the cost of bringing in someone with decent FinOps expertise and the level of management required.
We need a mix of skill sets, we need the ability to draw on the cumulative experience and knowledge of a team like Quantico.
Does that make sense?

5) Next steps
Get buy in for either reduced expectations or a bigger scope
Communicate the changes to resourcing
Follow up in an email

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