Dec 15 2011




Kisses, and Contracts!                                                                                                                               

It has been proverbially said in entrepreneurial circles that when two partners agree on everything, one of them is not necessary. This is probably a truism that is rarely given credibility until a highly-agreeable partnership goes south.


By the same token it has been often advised to never go into partnership with anyone other than your spouse because no one else shares the same values. There are of course –as with anything else– exceptions. I can think of two I’ve known that seemed to work, out of many hundreds I’ve consulted with.

(Curiously, both of these exceptions involved partners of father/son age differential, but neither was a father/son business. In both cases the older partner worked fewer hours and handled all computer and paperwork; the younger partner oversaw sales and operations.)

The point is that only a spouse can have the same single-minded purposes and focused energy to share. “Ah,” so you say, “but if my husband (or wife) ever worked with me, we’d divorce or kill each other! We already have too much friction between us and that would rapidly turn to anger!” Or, well, something like that.

Here’s the news: friction is a positive ingredient in life, without which in some form, a lot of life would even be possible. And anger? Reality dictates that anger –controlled anger– can be very stimulating, invigorating, motivating, refreshing, illuminating, and serve as a prompt to forward motion.

Anger is also a release. It can –again, in its controlled form– clear out and refocus unproductive stress, and invite innovative thinking. It can trigger improved communications.

Partners need not eat together, sleep together, and vacation together, but my experiences have shown that those who do, almost universally succeed because they share what they believe in, offset one another’s personalities, and support each other’s intents and initiatives to a fault. As a competitor, it’s hard to overcome that unified front.


The place I’ve found partnerships to be most forced, and most frequently fail, is in the professional practice arena — doctors, dentists, lawyers, allied medical sciences, accountants, management consultants. Egos far above and beyond the norm tend to flair and breed “control freaks.” Unproductive know-it-all attitudes prevail.

Winning partnerships require

winning leadership attitudes and

clearly defined separation of responsibilities.

# # #

FREE blog subscription: Posts RSS Feed

Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

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 

# # #

Check out and contribute to the daily growing 7-Word Story started 74 days ago (inside a coffin).  Click on the link to the right, or go to the “BOOKS” tab at the top of this page, then to the top headline link.

One response so far


Tag Cloud