One of the most critical decisions for advisory firm owners is to understand is how to work with business partners.
Partnerships tend to focus on the technical (think: numbers) aspects of the arrangement — but rarely or never address its emotional components.
The trouble is that the emotional side of partnership is where expectations are created, and the success or failure of a partnership often is made.
I learned this from an undergraduate professor while earning my family studies and human services degree: “Every relationship ends where it begins.”
It means, any expectation you set at the beginning of and throughout a relationship that goes unmet and/or unspoken will ultimately be the undoing of that relationship.
Here we’ll look at what makes partnerships work — and what doesn’t.
What Can Go Wrong
Fuzzy expectations can hurt an otherwise good partnership and lead to these reactions on the part of the business partners:
1. The partnership becomes rushed and pushed.
When our expectations aren’t being met, we try to push the other person in a relationship toward our position. The problem is that by pushing we break the other person’s trust.
If someone pushes you to do something you don’t want to do, it creates stress. When a relationship is built on stress, it can’t survive.
2. The partners become defensive.
When your vision for a partnership isn’t met, it’s easy to become defensive about what you want instead of engaging openly.
Digging in your heels, though, won’t make a partnership any better. There is no worse partner than one who thinks they know everything.
3. The partner become disrespectful and personal.
Much like any other relationship, partnerships won’t survive with personal attacks and disrespect. Instead of focusing on the work that needs to be done, frustration makes it easier to fall into name calling and make “always/never” statements about the other person.