Over the years I’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go. One of the things that always surprises me is how often businesses fail due to problems among partners. Partnerships are valuable when implemented the right way. On the flip side, a business suffers when there are problems in a partnership. If the problems aren’t dealt with in a timely fashion, the consequences can be disastrous. Here are some tips to help establish strong partnerships that will contribute to the overall health and well-being of your organization.
1. Be Open and Honest About Money and Financial Issues.
Money is always an issue, but agree from the start to be open and honest when discussing financial matters. Express concerns and agree not to hold discussion points against one another. Don’t focus on minor issues. It doesn’t really matter if your partner spent $20 on lunch with a client and you didn’t get to go. Focus on big issues and don’t sweat the small stuff.
2. Establish Clear Stewardship Over Internal Departments and Functions.
Decide who has the greater expertise or hire people who have expertise that you don’t and empower them to manage and lead those departments. Ask questions and make sure you understand the strategy and direction, but allow the experts to do what you’ve hired them to do.
3. Don’t Keep Score.
I’ve seen a lot of business owners who keep score and block good decisions from happening if they feel they’re falling behind in terms of providing good recommendations. This is counterproductive.
4. Be Open-Minded.
Don’t go into a decision with your mind made up. Be open to doing what’s best for the company. I encourage people to freely ask questions and challenge recommendations. When a recommendation is strong, you should accept it, support it, encourage it, implement it, and move on.
5. Give Important Decisions Time.
Rarely is there a problem with giving a decision 24 hours to marinate so you can consider all the pros and cons. Decisions reached on emotion usually turn out badly. Allow appropriate time for logic to guide the decision.
This article was written by Rick Bartholomew and published in Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.