Partnering with someone in business isn’t right for everyone. For most, however, you’ll come to a point where you will partner with someone on a project. Book publishers are partners with their authors. Movie studios are partners with their actors. At some point you’ll join forces with someone in an effort to create something awesome.

There’s something you need to know about making it work.

Communication is often labeled as the key to a successful partnership. It’s important, but success isn’t just about communication and it’s not about just playing off of each others strengths. Communication is easy. Travis Robertson is a partner of mine on several projects. We talk every Monday about those projects, where they are, challenges, ideas, etc. It’s scheduled and it’s simple.

There’s a hidden obstacle that most don’t see.

The problem with many business partnerships is that people attach themselves to satisfactions of the ego. It’s my idea, it’s my contribution, and so on. This is a deadly way of approaching a partnership. Instead, attach yourself to the end view. Keep the bigger picture in mind.

Most people have the wrong attitude and approach about cooperation. You think you should adjust yourself to your partners personality. The problem with this is that our self-respect doesn’t like us to mold and warp to someone else. When we do, we’re not happy about it.

This creates friction. That friction over time will turn to hostility and resentment. That’s not a good recipe for a successful business or partnership. Eventually, the relationship will break.

Instead, you must yield to the situation, not the person.

That’s the hidden secret to successful partnerships. To be truly effective, your partner needs to do the same. To do it any other way is setting yourself up for failure.

Dr. David Seabury once used this analogy: if rowing a boat after a shipwreck it’s the demand of the storm and navigation we need to adjust. As he put it, “We must yield to the needs of the hour.”

That’s how successful partnerships work. Yield to the situation and not to the person. If you both have this direction and approach, then you don’t have to be submissive to each other. You’ll create a relationship where both personalities can thrive successfully.

Photo by piermario