Jun 21 2013

The 7th of 10 Things Nobody Tells Entrepreneurs

Business and Professional Practice

Collaborations, Partnerships,


and Marriage . . .



When two people in business or professional practice agree all of the time, one of them is not necessary.

Things that functionfrom engines to entrepreneurial (doctors included) ventures– need friction. But it appears that just as many people seem not to distinguish clearly between assertiveness and aggressiveness, as those who fail to keep friction and arguing or temper tantrums separate. (Yes, I once worked with a short-fused surgeon who threw scalpels!)

This collaborative partnership subject emerged during an invigorating get-acquainted discussion I had this week with fellow LinkedIn contact, Robin Standlee, an organizational transformation specialist whose company, C-Level Consultants, LLC. is a collaborative partnership organization that works with entrepreneurs and nonprofits.

She pointed out that the strength of collaborative partnerships has a great deal to do with the care and attention given to defining relationship parameters. Clearly defining role responsibilities encourages partners to feel freer and function more productively. Leadership is the ultimate product.

Working with many partnership entities over time (and actually being one for 25 years) has allowed me a unique perspective on these kinds of work arrangements. I have seen partners scream, threaten and throw things at one another — even a fistfight once between two brothers! From surgical group practices and hospitals to IT, foodservice, transportation, and HVAC companies, no enterprise is immune.

The bottom line is that partnering courtships and honeymoons may flutter hearts and become engulfed in bird tweets and floating flower petals, but the realities that test every marriage will surely come to the surface once a relationship settles in. Defining clearly what to expect and who will do what and what will be jointly agreed to —the marriage contract— is critical to ensure business and professional growth.

When you’re serious about joining forces with another person or entity, the only way to make certain that everyone involved will stay involved, that healthy assessments are met with healthy counter-assessments (in other words, that honest and straightforward critiquing and constructive alternative thinking is encouraged) is to agree on a strong operating platform.

COLLABORATION ARTICULATION = Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. When the glitter goes away, will your partners still stand tall?

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Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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Jun 16 2010

Married to your business?

And now . . .




for the first time as


Mr. and Mrs. Business


. . .


     Okay, the honeymoon is over (thanks to our business-deficient federal government leadership that is relentlessly trying to drive small business into the ground). The envelopes of cash have been spent. The champagne has fizzled away and been replaced by more economical tastes:  a “cupala brewskies” we tell the bartender.

     As we settle into the kind of more serious and more revealing relationship that matrimonial vows give way to, we discover reality!

     BONG! I’m married to my business! OMG, what’s next? Please don’t tell me we’re expecting a new baby business. I’ve hardly figured out how to get my arms around the big one. Sound familiar? 

     The real problem is that marrying your business has a tendency to overwhelm and upset, and some-times replace, a real husband and wife marriage.

     The business “family” (customers. employees, suppliers and vendors, investors, referrers, business associations and organizations, trade and professional groups and pursuits, and the business neighborhood and community) can readily –by stampede or by creeping isolation– become more demanding, and ultimately more demanding than your real family.

     Hopefully, you saw or will see this coming in time to reinvent yourself and patch things up, or seek professional help. Many do. Some don’t.

     You’re an entrepreneur? It comes with the territory that your life has to suffer at the hands of your business spirit. Or does it?

     Plenty of successful business owners have found marriage partners and family situations that allow them to strike a balance with and harmonize their lives. Seeking and winning this balance should be the first thing students learn in entrepreneur school.

     Unfortunately, very few actually go to school to learn what has historically been a predominantly inherent skill set. Entrepreneurship thrives among those with predictable personalities and character traits.

     Almost universally, entrepreneurs dislike and rebel against authority, discipline, and organizational detail. They are innovators and dreamers with burning desires to see their ideas succeed. They are not –as popularly believed– in it for the money. They do not–as popularly believed– take unreasonable risks.

     And if you are one, you well know that personal life is a challenge that often gets in the way while trying to build a business life.

     Having worked with many hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, I would suggest that business quests will be easier and quicker to achieve and much more productive when you can first build and strengthen the authenticity of the personal relationships and family that will support your lamebrain ideas and schemes during the tough times that will surely come. And you will be healthier and happier for their love.

     Don’t take my word for it. Take your own. Look in the mirror and remind yourself that your behavior is your choice. Choose first to be a person with a mission to make a difference in life, before running off to chase your vision to make a difference in business.  


302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

God Bless America, and God Bless Our Troops 

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 22 2008


Sleeping With The Boss?

A staggering number of U,S, businesses —96%— are estimated to be either family-owned or family-controlled! 


     It’s anyone’s guess how many are family operated, but the bottom line is that it takes a very special relationship or cluster of relationships to work together effectively all day, every day (even every few days!), and still maintain healthy personal lives and separate identities.  Teamwork.  Shared leadership.  Give and take.  Active listening.

     This post comes from firsthand experience. 

     My wife Kathy and I work together, eat together, sleep together and vacation together.  We’ve been doing that every day, pretty much seven days a week, for over twenty years. 

     We’ve nearly killed each other a hundred times, but neither of us would have it any other way, and we’d do it all over again if we could.    

     Noted management professor and author Harry Levinson says “The family is never free of the business; all conversation and relationships seem to be built around it.  Nor,” he adds, “is the business ever free of the family.”

     When you eat, sleep, and drink the business, it’s often difficult to separate personal issues and concerns, to live personal lives, to be preserving your relationships. 

     But keep in mind that because all behavior is a matter of choice, separating business from personal is only difficult when you choose for it to be difficult.  You can choose for it to be easy!

     In entrepreneurship development programs and family business counseling sesions I ran, I would often advise married business partners to paint or tape a brightly-colored line across the doorway to their bedrooms, and not allow any business discussions, or even business thoughts to creep in and cross the divider. 

     One couple reported they enforce a required laugh out loud –even half-hearted– as admission to cross their red lightbulb-lined (on a timer) door frame.

     I guess the thought of that is a laugh by itself, but frankly, this bedroom divider line idea is probably useful advice for any couple, regardless of career. 

     Keeping a pen and paper (and penlight!) next to the bed to record middle-of-the-night bursts of inspiration or jot down to-do lists that keep you awake should provide all the business outlet anyone should need once he or she steps into the bedroom. 

     Bedtime in the bedroom is simply not the right time or the right place to talk about sales, distribution, taxes, accounts payable, collections, irate customers, business investments, R&D projects, bank loans, marketing programs, or employee performance. 

     It’s just not, that’s all.  It’s, in fact, destructive, taxing, unhealthy, and highly stressful . . . like the negative wired-out edge you might expect to get from watching network tv news all night! 

     Besides allowing yourself to jet down, and sleep more soundly, it will help soothe your neurological system to get brainstorm ideas and troublesome thoughts down on paper, and out of your head!  And DO remember the penlight.  No one likes waking up in the middle of the night to glaring lights and her or his bed partner writing up a business storm.    halalpiar 

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