By Lynda-Ross Vega
Partnerships, whether personal, as in a marriage, or business, as in a joint venture, are an important part of working and being with others. They allow us to accomplish more together than any one of us could individually.
At the core of successful partnerships is what I call “The Value Proposition.” I have written about this in detail in a previous post, but it consists of three components – the anticipated value of the partnership results, the shared personal values (ethics), and the value each partner brings to the partnership.
As important as all three components of “The Value Proposition” are, it is possible to have complete agreement on all three and still have a partnership fail. This is possible because the three components of “The Value Proposition” address the “what” of a partnership, but they do not address the “how”. If the “how” is in conflict then the partnership can be in serious danger.
What comprises the “how”? The individual strengths of each partner, which reflect how each person sees the world. You and I may agree on the objective of our partnership, but the way we go about achieving it can be very different.
For example, a couple can agree that they want to be married and have a family. They can agree on what is important in raising children and even on the division of labor regarding parenting responsibilities. But if the wife uses strict, consistent discipline as the method for teaching acceptable behavior, and the husband uses discussions of consequences and “time outs” for thinking about inappropriate behaviors…well, you can see the conflict that will occur between the parents and the confusion that will result for the children.
In a business partnership, both partners might have experienced previous success in sales and so they agree to share sales responsibilities. However, one may use a high pressure direct approach while the other is more comfortable building long-term relationships with referral sources. Assuming they have one target market, they send mixed messages and neither achieves the sales success they’ve enjoyed in the past. This makes for some serious conflict about methods and tactics.
Partners do not have to agree on every aspect of how the partnership goes about accomplishing its objectives. To expect total agreement is unrealistic. But the success of a partnership does depend on the ability of the partners to appreciate each other’s strengths, consider which partner should take the lead for various responsibilities within the partnership, and openly discuss the differences in approach to arrive at a joint agreement in the “how”.
It’s important that each partner know what strengths they bring to the table, and to appreciate the strengths of the other partner. This is critical not just in evaluating the feasibility of the partnership, but also to identify gaps and the potential challenges for the partnership. Perceptual Style, is a great tool for understanding natural strengths – your own as well as those of your partner. Wouldn’t it be great to have a map of your currently recognized strengths that you have to bring to a partnership?
When partnerships fail, people will blame all sorts of things, but at the core is always a lack of understanding about the strengths that each person brings to the partnership and the collective challenges they will face together. Take time to create a map of the strengths you bring to a partnership, or assess with a partner what you see that each of you bring to the table that contributes to your success.
Need help with the process?
If you want help to discover your own strengths map or what is missing that is holding your partnership back, you can contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.YourTalentAdvantage.com. Let our partnership success maps assist you and your partner with the identification of strengths and how best to utilize each partner’s natural talents as well as how to fill in gaps for strengths that neither partner has in order to achieve success.