How will your partnership run on a day-to-day basis? Will it be smooth, effective and efficient or will you have overlaps, confusion and dropped balls?
In my previous article, I talked about the first two steps in creating great business partnerships — the importance of doing your due diligence before selecting a business partner and of establishing roles and responsibilities.
The next three steps are equally important:
3. Define your decision making process. How will both the day-to-day and major decisions be made? Look at every aspect of running an organization, the myriad of decisions, their impact on the organization, and then define how those decisions will be made. Will they fall under each partner’s functional area or will decision-making be shared? How will differences of opinion be handled? Partnership does not necessarily mean consensus and disagreements are inevitable, so know how you will deal with it before it happens.
4. Establish leadership role. Partnerships are not completely flat organizations. They do have leaders. Leaders play multiple roles and the partnership may have multiple leaders depending on the situation or task at hand. Will you confer on everything or will you divide leadership roles. Perhaps one of you is more skilled at the strategic leadership required to run your company. What is the most effective leadership model for your organization?
5. Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more. Know and respect yours and your partner’s communication style. How do you each best receive and process information? How often should you be communicating? About what? Be aware of the quality of your communications—are you falling into the trap of “group think”? Successful partners know how to cultivate healthy disagreement by challenging each other’s position in an effort to reach the best solution for the company.