Create Alignment With Your Partners
In the March issue of the White Space we talked about the partner selection process and the second we covered creating business alignment. This article discusses the next critical step in sustaining a vital partnership and how the partners will work together as an aligned team to maximize resources and opportunities.
Beside a lack of thorough business planning and committing "agreements" to writing, one of the problems most frequently found in troubled partnerships is that of mismatched expectations and styles that destroy alignment and take energy away from the business.
Comprehensive alignment in a partnership depends heavily on how business goals, personal characteristics and expectations of the people that are involved match up. Ultimately alignment means that success in business includes success in the lives of the individual partners. Even with the best of intentions and business design, personality conflicts and differing definitions of success spell trouble.
To help avoid the waste caused by these frequently unspoken conflicts, the following suggestions will help you develop a clear set of operational and personal responsibilities that embrace personal work styles, personalities and ambitions.
· How does this business feed each of the partners' passions?
· How do we acknowledge differences in work styles and ambition levels?
· How do we resolve conflicts? When do we call in a third party?
· What is the difference between money earned from equity and from employment?
· What other passions in the partners' lives would make them want to leave?
· If the company hit a bump in the road, would each partner be able and willing to take a cut in compensation?
· How will people exit the business in a way that protects the interests of the company as well as of the individuals?
· Would you block investment in the company if it meant you lost your role as an employee?
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