A great partnership is like a great marriage—precious and rare. And like any marriage, after the honeymoon period ends and the realities of life kick in, a good partnership is always worth saving.
1. Revisit the Company Goals:
Are all partners still bought in?
2. Revisit Job Descriptions:
Is each person doing their best in the role that’s been designed for them? Or worse, is the lack of clarity around each person’s job position causing the dissention and conflict in the first place?
3. Revisit your Vision:
Are all partners still in agreement regarding the end game and where they ultimately want to company to be?
4. Get a Coach:
A coach can facilitate the difficult conversations that partners are reluctant to have. Whether it’s due to avoidance behavior (avoiding conflict and controversy) or a lack of skill in communicating a coach can uncover resentments be an unconditional third party and help facilitate solutions that the partners were unable to do or even see on their own.
5. What Has Changed?
Life changes, people change, priorities change. Has there been any changes in the lives of the partners, either personally or professionally? Sometimes partners grow out of their roles or simply lose interest. Sometimes changes in a person’s personal life affect their decisions that relate to their business. So, is there still a fit?
Rather than talk honestly and openly quite often people seem to do the opposite; they shut down their communication, making the costly assumption that “This is a dead end. My partner doesn’t understand me.”
7. Facts or Assumptions?
I can’t begin to count the number of times that the very problems that have destroyed the partnership were based more in assumptions rather than on the facts. Don’t react to what you think is happening but really isn’t. Instead, focus on getting the evidence that supports your feelings to avoid making decisions you may later regret.
8. Take the High Road:
Like a good marriage no partnership is ever going to be an even 50-50 split of responsibility and effort all the time. If you’re playing the “That’s not fair, I’m working harder than my partner” game, this will only lead to greater resentment and ultimately a toxic relationship. Are you standing on your Ego Pedestal and your principles, or can you let some things go that really don’t make a difference in the long run. Stop majoring in the minor things that you can overlook, especially if your partner’s natural skills, talents and the value they bring to the company exceeds their minor hang ups or idiosyncrasies.
9. Regular Partner Meetings focused on You.
I’ll never forget the first time going to the doctor after my first child was born. After the initial check up, the doctor turned to my wife and I and asked a question I have yet to hear from any doctor since. She actually asked, “So, how are the both of YOU doing?” When parents only focus on their children, they lose sight of focusing on each others personal needs which they need to continue to focus on in order to maintain the integrity and strength of their relationship. Schedule partner meetings more frequently. A partner meeting is different from a strategy meeting or a meeting to discuss employees or goals. This meeting is about YOU and making sure all your needs are being met and how the partners can work better together and support each other.