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Predicting Business Partnership Success

July 14, 2016

“The meeting of two personalities is like the meeting of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed.” Carl Jung

 There is a lot to do when you form a new business, which is one reason that many people choose to team up with a business partner. While being in a partnership can solve a lot of problems, it too often creates other, more vexing ones. The inability of partners to work well together over the long-term is the chief cause of failure in business partnerships.   And,

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TAGS: Partnerships, Co-founders

Partnership Equity Splits and “Fairness”

May 02, 2016

“Measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so.” – Galileo

For new partners, either starting a new venture or merging their businesses, few conversations are as difficult as discussing what the equity split will be. So, like any potentially messy conversation, it is often avoided. The default is to go with an even split or a split that ensures control to a specific founder.

When we see partners in serious trouble, with businesses that are in jeopardy because they can no longer work together, it is often because there is a sense of unfairness about contribution, compensation or control. Often this can be traced to

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TAGS: Facilitation, Merging, Co-founders

What's The Best Way to Bond With Your New Business Partner?  Hint: It's Not Golf

April 20, 2016

We’ve worked with many successful partners who attribute some of the strength in their partnership to time spent in social activities as they got to know each other: golfing, biking, weekend travel with spouses. Yet we continue to see partners seeking mediation who had terrific social relationships but have profound problems in their business partnership.

New research by Noam Wasserman at Harvard Business School, as well as internal research done at Google, shows that having strong social bonds is not a predictor of how well work teams perform. In research focused specifically on

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TAGS: Partnerships

It's Complicated: Men, Women and Business Partnerships

April 11, 2016

It is the long history of humankind that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. —Charles Darwin

Effective collaboration is at the core of successful business partnerships, but it is a balancing act. Collaboration can result in better products and services but can also be time-consuming and negatively affect profitability. We recently completed a survey of over 130 business partners, looking for trends in how they collaborate to create satisfying, and profitable,

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TAGS: Partnerships, Co-founders

What You Need to Know About Your Co-Founder

April 05, 2016

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Whether or not he was correct about families, Tolstoy’s philosophy does not seem to hold true for business startups. In fact, the opposite is true: startups can succeed for a variety of reasons, but most fail for the same reason: poor relationships among co-founders. Studies suggest that the majority (62%) of failure in start-ups is attributable to irresolvable conflict among co-founders. This is unfortunate not only because some great business ideas never come to fruition, but also because it is preventable.

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TAGS: Facilitation, Coaching, Merging, Co-founders

Problems in Your Partnership? Focus on Values

March 23, 2016

“What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility” Leo Tolstoy

In our practice, we have come to believe that there is very little incompatibility in behaviors that cannot be adapted for.  For some partners, getting along and approaching problems similarly comes more easily. Others may have behavioral traits that require them to work a little harder.   Forewarned is forearmed; with the correct understanding,  it is possible to make

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TAGS: Partnerships, Facilitation

Are You Hewlett and Packard? What You Can Learn About Your Partnership From Our New Compatibility Report

March 17, 2016

 

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

 Assessing the behaviors and motivators of our clients and creating an overlay of the styles of all the partners in the business has always been a part of our practice.  We now have a new report that provides even more integration of the comparison of two business partners. It addresses three main areas:

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TAGS: Partnerships, Facilitation, Co-founders

Thinking Like A Business Partner

March 07, 2016

“If two men agree on everything one of them is unnecessary.” - Henry Ford

 Advice about finding the right business partner almost always includes looking for someone with complementary skills. Especially in a start-up poised to grow rapidly, it seems smart to get partners with clearly distinct skills. But the truth is that a partnership can perform very well even when the partners do not have clearly defined complementary skills. In most cases a leader can hire someone with the skills they need. What partnerships have trouble surviving is a lack of complementary thinking styles.

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TAGS: Coaching, Merging

Assessing Your Partnership Fit

February 26, 2016

If you are considering a merger or acquisition, or hiring with an eye toward an internal succession plan, your fit as partners will matter more than any other factor when it comes to the success of your practice.  In fact, San-Francisco-based Funders and Founders estimates that 62% of merger failure is due to partnership conflict. 

“Fit” can take into account lots of elements of compatibility; we’ll use it here to mean skills, behaviors and motivations.  Most are looking for someone with complementary skills; someone with strengths in areas where they feel less capable.  Ideally,

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TAGS: Merging, Co-founders

Learning From Partnership Failures

January 07, 2016

"The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing." - Henry Ford

We all hope to learn from our mistakes, so we found it a little surprising when our recent survey of about 150 business partners revealed a troubling trend. Only 38% of those who had been in a previous partnership that “ended badly” report having worked with their current partner prior to joining forces. This is slightly lower than for those in first partnerships.

Working together before taking the leap into a partnership is one of the most important steps that prospective partners can take. Here is a reminder of the top three things that potential partners should do to prevent being part of the grim 70% failure rate for business partnerships:

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TAGS: Partnerships, Coaching, Co-founders

THE PARTNERSHIP RESOURCE

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  • Resolve partnership conflict
  • Reinforce your partnership dynamics
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