“Be open to collaboration. Find people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.”
Powerful Partnerships have helped shape and advance society for thousands of years. Think about how many of the world’s most successful people have partners- the Wright Brothers, Watson and Crick, Page and Brin, and -who could forget- Ben and Jerry. In each of these examples, 1+1 did not equal 2, 1+1 equaled 100! The synergy that results from a successful partnership is almost magical and should set the standard for how we strive to conduct ourselves, both at work and in life.
Forming a Powerful Partnership does not happen overnight, nor is it possible with any two random people. There is a foundation that must be laid and a code or conduct that must be followed in order for the partnership to be enduring and successful. Gallup’s “The Power of 2: How to Make the Most of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life” lists eight crucial elements to developing a Powerful Partnership.
- A Common Mission- Both partners possess a shared goal or vision. Partners must be on the same page to get the maximum amount of results out of the partnership.
- Complementary Strengths- (not complimentary) Two people need to recognize their own exceptional abilities as well as their weaknesses to make the best teams. As much as we all would love to work with someone as talented as ourselves, it is vital that you partner with someone who has different strengths.
- Fairness- In a partnership it’s not what’s smart or logical that matters, it’s what’s equitable. Both partners must feel like they are equal contributors and recipients.
- Trust- The Linchpin of a partnership. With trust, both people can concentrate their energies on their separate responsibilities. Effort and time are not wasted worrying about the other partner’s motives.
- Acceptance- Understand that you are no more going to get a perfect partner than you are going to be one. Successful partners accept and accommodate each other’s failings.
- Forgiveness- People make mistakes but vengeful feelings fracture partnerships. Partners need to have the humility to both ask for, and give, forgiveness.
- Communication- Good communicators rarely misunderstand each other, are good listeners, and show appreciation. It takes a massive amount of energy and skill to effectively stay on the same page as another person, but great partners recognize its value and become masters of communication.
- Unselfishness- Partners are equally satisfied seeing their partner succeed as they would be with their own success. A powerful partner realizes that the good of the partnership as a whole must trump personal gain.
Powerful Partnerships in Life
Partnerships provide you with someone else to experience the challenging lows and the ecstatic highs that come in life. Having someone by your side that can provide wise counsel, encouragement, and support is priceless. However, it is imperative that your partner be more than just an echo chamber. A powerful partner is someone that can create constructive conflict and push us into new levels of collaboration and creation. We must seek out people with different backgrounds, ways of thinking and different experience, and find ways to engage with them. This requires a lot of patience and a lot of energy but the results will be worth it!
To hear more about constructive conflict, listen to this TED Talk by Margaret Heffernan.
Powerful Partnerships at Work
“Is doing business with a partner better than going at it alone? My answer is yes. Nothing in business is more rewarding. Working together is much better than working alone.” Michael Eisner, Disney
The secret to taking your business or organization to the next level is not spending hours working to become a jack-of-all-trades, the secret is having the self-awareness to know what does not come naturally to you and finding a partner that possesses that strength. Stop trying to marginally improve your weaknesses and instead focus on exponentially increasing your Strengths. Not only will you be happier and more fulfilled, but you will also be more productive and profitable! Forming a Powerful Partnership is a powerful business tool, but one that should be entered into with caution. Below are Five Lessons For Forming Strong Business Partnerships
- Partnership agreements- It’s important for business partners to have clear partnership agreements drafted by attorneys.
- Clear expectations- Partners should consistently set their expectations with each other.
- Think about your clients- Think about your clients and what type of partnership would benefit them.
- Mutually beneficial- Both sides need to gain something from the relationship for it to be worthwhile.
- It’s ok to walk away- Like any relationship, a business partnership holds a great deal of promise. However, sometimes it doesn’t work out. That’s alright. Don’t stay in a business partnership if you believe it’s no longer viable. It’s better to end the partnership and regroup than to force something that’s not working.
As you read the descriptions of the critical elements, what vision pops in your head? Have you ever been a part of a partnership that possessed the traits listed above? Or studied a partnership that did? Share an example in the comments below or via facebook and twitter using the hashtag #powerfulpartnerships.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”