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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Dec 02 2008


Be kinder than necessary


because everyone


you meet is fighting


some kind of battle!

     I know, I know, I promised more today on listening skills.  Well the number one rule of listening for many people and many professions is to use empathy, and that’s what this heading is all about. 

     Empathy is mentally putting yourself in another person’s shoes.  It is a step up from sympathy, or feeling sorry for someone, because empathy implies active involvement.

Of course there’s more, a lot more, to active listening skills than being empathetic, but I relate strongly to the message of the heading, so I’m leaving it there while I take you down another listening skill path: paraphrasing!

“If I understand you correctly, you are saying that . . .” or “What I think I hear you saying is . . .” or “Do I understand you to mean . . .? are three excellent lead-ins to use when paraphrasing (putting your “take” on a statement into your own words) something someone else has just said.  Why would you do this?  To make SURE that you got the opinion or information or directions right!

This paraphrasing device, by the way, when it’s delivered in a persistently unemotional, understanding tone of voice, has great value in defusing moments of conflict.  It forces a person who’s just tossed out an emotional barrage of complaints to hear how their words have come across to someone else in a non-threatening and non-confrontative way.

  Paraphrasing serves to slow down the rush of upset, and often prompts the other person to reconsider or at least to better explain the issues.  It sets a stage for the upset person to talk more, and often to be more careful and reasoned.

   We’ve all heard that (especially in sales, customer service, counseling, consulting, and marriage ) we need to try to speak 20% of the time and listen 80% of the time.

This may be a challenging prescription, but speaking and listening are behaviors.  We choose our behaviors.  We also choose to be challenged or we can choose to be accepting.

Water flows best downhill.  Choose the easy route.  Just tell yourself to “Listen up!” [Taking notes ALWAYS helps, and flatters as well.  “Would you please speak a little slower (or repeat that) so I can jot it down; I want to make sure I get it right!” works wonders in terms of ensuring full understanding and in boosting the other person’s ego.]

On the flip side, ask someone who’s just unloaded a barrage of concerns to help you sort them out by writing them down, one at a time, and assigning a #1 for most important and #2 for next most important, etc. to each item — and then proceed to address (chew and digest) each issue separately and exclusively, beginning with #1.

Odds are pretty good you’ll never get past the first two or three items on the list before the complainant withdraws the remaining ones or backs off the initial sense of fury, or both.  Either way, you have nothing to lose by trying, except miscommunications and upsets.

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

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

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

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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