I’m talking about business partnerships here, not the marriage kind, although they do have common themes. And I’m not referring to the split of shares between business partners or some other form of measuring how much each person brings to the partnership.
Business partnership implies two or more people in a team working towards a common goal. But it’s not going to be an easy road and we all know that ups and downs are inevitable. If you’re on your own then it’s a hold different ball game.
Is the key…. a MBA type model? There’s the classic; Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing (<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forming,_storming,_norming_and_performing” target=”_blank”>Bruce Tuckman in 1965</a>). The model works but with each goal and its objectives, the cycle may repeat itself over and over again even if it is with the same team members. Where in the cycle are you with yours?
Is the key…. balance? Like all relationships, there has to be a balance for the business relationship to last. Or at least the act of balancing.
Is the key … that the same person is always the leader? Maybe, but in terms of motivation, cheering on (aka supporting), everyone takes turns to be the flag bearer.
Is the key …. turn based? Like running a track relay race. The runners are the members of the team. The goal is the finish line. In the 4 x 100m relay, you have to stay in your lane but in the 4 x 400m you don’t after the first 500m. The baton needs to be passed within a certain distance from one runner to another (20m) and can’t be dropped otherwise disqualification happens. The business race is no determined fixed distance, a mix of sprints, middle and long distance runs and the baton sometimes can be light as a feather or as heavy as a rock. And who says its has to be just the one person at any given time holding the baton and leading?
There’s no special one key that is the answer. At least not for me. Instead its more like a jailor’s key chain with a zillion keys attached.
One key is for open, honest, communication, another for self-awareness. If you can’t communicate and you don’t know what’s going on, how can it be a partnership. A third key is ‘share of work’ or contribution. With all partnerships if one party is doing most of the work, they are going to run out of gas and someday slammed on the brakes unless the gas runs out first and you limp to a stop. The relationship will come to an end and its not going to be pleasant. Are you actively aware of what your share of work, your contribution currently is? Is it a fair representation? Can you spot this before the breaking point and lend support to strengthen the foundations before its too late? Key number four is knowing your team members in the workplace and getting the best out of them without alienating them. Key five is patience with Key 6 being ‘give & take’ (and no, its not take, take, take!).
The list goes on and on, anyone else want to add more keys to the chain?