Throughout my career I experienced and witnessed a few great business partnerships, often between a visionary leader and a leader who was skilled at making that vision a reality. Unfortunately, more often then not, I witnessed business partnership dissolve over time, not because of competency or skill set issues, but mostly due to character traits that created negative business dynamics that eroded trust between partners.
Regardless of titles, industry, or size of company, a few key character traits standout as common qualities of a good partnership. Do you and your business partner share these 10 key traits that can help you overcome the challenges inherent in growing your company?
A foundational aspect of any partnership must be trust. Trust can’t be taken for granted, it’s earned and maintained through navigating the challenges of business together. If you wouldn’t trust your business partner with your personal finances or the welfare of your family members, how can you really trust them as a business partner?
Business partners must be willing to sacrifice comfort for honesty. Even if a partner isn’t happy hearing what the other has to say, they have to know that nothing is held back, and their partner is honest in every situation. Do you hold back from speaking your truth to your business partner or are you not open to hearing the brutal truth?
People are not perfect, nor do they always behave in the ideal way. It’s important to have grace for your partner and give them space to deal with whatever needs to be done. A little forgiveness, patience and understanding go a long way. Business is stressful enough and there will be good days and bad days. Do you show grace and patience with the ups and downs over the long haul? Are you making mountains out of mole hills?
It’s important that partners inspire each other to become the best they can be, to rise above obstacles and barriers, both for interpersonal growth as well as business growth. Do you hold your partner to high standards and challenge them to show up daily as the best version of themselves? Does your partner inspire you to greatness and challenge you?
Above all else one must respect their partner. This includes their strengths and weaknesses. Do you make passive aggressive comments about them in public or in private? Even if you are mad at them or upset with a situation, do you hold back from character comments and personal insults? Do you fight fair?
It’s not common for a leader to have a full array of leadership skills. Ideally your partner will have the strengths you don’t and vise versa. When there is balance between partners, great things can happen in that duo. Some partners are good with people, others with execution, and others with vision. If you are weak in one or more area, does your partner balance your weakness with their strength?
For many of us, our work and personal lives interact and overlap. Would you choose to spend personal time with your partner outside of business? Good partners often enjoy each other as individuals and genuinely have a friendship. Do you like your partner?
Partnerships often involve sacrifice and service to each other with a long-term view on the relationship vs a short-term gain. Would you take a financial hit or make a personal sacrifice for your partner? Are you committed to them through the good and the bad of a business cycle and the ups and downs of life over time? What’s your long-term view of the partnership?
Do you defend your partner and stand up for them to others? Do you give your partner the benefit of the doubt in situations and withhold judgment until you speak to them to get their side of a story?
Are you both living your core values and purpose while staying focused on your Big Hairy Audacious Goal?
Business partners are key relationships and a vital aspect impacting the growth and success of your company. Competency skills can be learned, character traits are harder to come by. Choose your business partners wisely. If you want improved relationships with your business partner, attend our Leadership Is About You workshop together on March 10, 2020. Register today.