The difference between business consulting and Partner Therapy is whether there’s a Kleenex box on my conference table.
Throughout the life of your business, you experience hundreds of relationships with vendors, clients, employees, and peers. But there’s no more potentially valuable relationship than the one you have with a business partner.
Attorneys say that a business partnership is harder than marriage, because severance is more difficult than divorce. I’ve found the secret to a happy business marriage is total agreement in three areas:
1) A shared strategy: An agreed business focus, a mutual vision for what you hope to accomplish through your work, and a set of values for how you’ll conduct business, establish the framework for all decisions thereafter. Without these, it’s easily every partner for him or herself, and (often) stagnating disagreements about fundamentals. (This is a great excuse to go to the Mountain with me. Clients with business partners rave about the value of getting everyone on the same strategic page!)
2) A mutually-agreeable exit strategy: All partners don’t have to have the same intended exit, but business growth needs to honor each partners’ preference.
3) An agreed method for decision-making: No buy-sell agreement can anticipate every single thing you’ll encounter, so you need a simple model for making decisions, big and small. Consensus is best for the big stuff, and delegation to the person closest to the decision is best for the day-to-day.
Synchronize all partners in these three ways, and I promise more ups to your partnership, and less tissue time.