April  2011



Alice came to the fork in the road.
"Which road do I take?" she asked.
"Where do you want to go?" responded the Cheshire cat.
"I don't know," Alice answered.
"Then," said the cat, "it doesn't matter."

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland



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The Smart Swarm: How Understanding Flocks, Schools, and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done  by Peter Miller



Peter Miller takes a look at our behavior in teams through the lens of natural history and shows us examples of intelligent group behavior, which he calls the "smart swarm". Peter shows us the intelligence of the group even in many cases where the individual only focuses on a few animals that are close to them because the smart swarm's biology (even in leaderless groups of ants, bees and others) unlocks secrets of group behavior.


Animals like ants with low individual intelligence perform remarkably complex feats in a community while other animal types, e.g. locusts produce dangerous results that sometimes turn the mob against itself.   


What does this have to do with your business? Click to continue reading. 




          Welcome to MOMENTUM's April 2011 edition of The White Space. This is the second article in a series on partnership.   


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- Paul Cooperstein


Create Alignment for the Business


        In our March article we talked about interviewing prospective partners as part of the process for finding and choosing the right business partners. This article talks about creating business alignment, a critical step in laying a strong foundation to a vital partnership. In this article we will discuss how to create partnership alignment.


         Alignment means that success in business includes success in the lives of the individual partners, i.e. how the personal and business goals and expectations of each partner align with those of the other partner, as well as with those of the business itself. One of the problems most frequently found in troubled partnerships is that of mismatched expectations. To help avoid trouble, you need to develop a clear vision, mission and original goals, a set of working values (including operational responsibilities) as well as an initial roadmap of how you are going to get there. Partners should also discuss work styles, ambitions and strategies for exiting your venture. Start the process by asking each of the participants what questions they want to hear the answers to. Below are samples of questions we have used in our work:


         What is your vision (how we want to change the world and benefit your customers) and mission and goals (business plan) for the company one year, three years and five years from now.  


         What does success look like for the company and for you?


         What are our individual and collective strengths and weaknesses, in terms of experiences, know-how, know-who, know-what, likes and dislikes?  


         Do the criteria above complement each other?


         What is the budget? When will the partners be able to expect salaries or other income?


         Do all parties understand what owning equity means?  Are there alternative strategies for rewarding equity participants that do or do not impact voting?


         What will the company need long term, in terms of people and capital needs and would you be willing to give up your position (employee, investor etc.) for that?


         Will we engage a board of advisors or directors and what will their authority be?


         Who owns what intellectual property?


       Continue reading. 


Momentum has offices in Boston and San Rafael CA, and helps people have conversations in business that work better. We support the building of partnerships in business through coaching (before, during and after). We facilitate operational planning, organizational development, project management, executive coaching and building high value customer relationships. For more information, send Paul Cooperstein an email at paul@businessmomentum.org or call him at 617-328-7333. To access my website click here 

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