Case Studies & Stories from Business Partnership Coach Dr. Lehavi
These are actual case studies that Dr. Lehavi coached, but names, genders and even industries may have been changed to preserve anonymity.
STORY #1 — A COSTLY MISTAKE AVOIDED
Sandra and Mara, two young women in their 20’s, worked in the fashion industry, and wanted to start a business together as partners. They came for coaching to help them resolve some difficult decisions regarding responsibilities, titles, division of labor, compensation and in general, areas that required some give and take.
After a few sessions where we focused on the details, and utilized the 13 Essential Questions, it was obvious there was not only a lack of trust, but also a lack of flexibility on the part of both of them. For example, they were hung up on titles, on who was spending more time on the business, and such other minor issues, rather than on what the business would require in order to succeed.
They were disappointed that the coaching recommendation was that they should not be partners. As a result, they did not feel that the coaching was a success, but I knew it was.
Hopefully, with the passing of time they have come to realize that they were saved from enormous heartache and financial loss by going through partnership coaching.
STORY #2 – PERSONALITY CONFLICTS RESOLVED
Gail and Stan had worked together for years in another company when they decided to go into business together as manufacturers of kitchenware products.
They thought they knew each other pretty well and were very much on the same page when it came to vision, goals, finance, treatment of employees, vendors, etc. However, one thing they had not encountered previously in their former positions was a personality difference in one area that threatened their relationship.
Gail is a Type A person with not a lot of patience for getting things done. Her desk is always clean and her to-do list is short because she tends to do everything yesterday.
Stan is the total opposite. His desk is piled with papers in what appears to be a very disorganized mess. His to-do list is long and he procrastinates till the last minute.
If it wasn’t for this issue, all was well. In coaching, Gail was mostly willing, with my guidance, to verify that everything Stan was responsible for was done and on time, even if it was at the last minute. After focusing and checking on this for a period of time, she was able to accept that everyone has their own distinct way of performing tasks. In fact, Stan expressed that her orderliness and fast pace made him nervous.
After these revelations, they both agreed to stay out of each other’s way regarding to-do lists, and relax in the knowledge that everything was getting done on time while meeting the high quality standards they both shared. Gail and Stan’s partnership has now been thriving for over a decade.
STORY #3 – FROM SPLIT TO SUCCESS
Glen and Randy were ready to split. They had been in the clothing manufacturing business for 3 years and felt that they were going in different directions. Coaching was their last hope.
I discovered that they didn’t communicate about the business, didn’t have meetings with each other or with their employees. Glen was in charge of marketing and Randy was responsible for the operations side of the business
As their coach, the first step was to get the partners to talk. In the first session, it became apparent to both of them that they were in agreement more often than not. They also rediscovered that they liked each other, and were reminded why they became partners in the first place.
The next step was to have them use my “Let’s Succeed” Partnership Agreement Template and “What If’s” Scenario Handbook to make decisions that would serve as a strong foundation for the partnership and the business.
This case is a classic example of why it is crucial that partners meet at least once a week and talk about everything. Glen and Randy learned it was to the detriment of their business that they were not meeting and that the other team members didn’t meet and coordinate their efforts either. We put an infrastructure together with tight agendas and regularly scheduled meetings on all levels. With these in place and operating, Glen and Randy were very pleased to watch the bottom line increase. Their employees were also happier as they were helped to see how they fit into the picture of the business succeeding and how they were valued in the process. Needless to say, Glen and Randy and their team are still performing in successful partnership.
STORY #4 – A BETTER MARRIAGE, A BETTER BUSINESS
Tim and Betty are a married couple in business together. They wanted to find out why the number of clients they had did not reflect their high level of talent and skills as financial advisors.
They had been happily married for many years. Their business offices were located in the house, but there was no clear line drawn between the marriage and the business.
As their coach, I helped them realize that they let each other off the hook, not challenging their abilities to stretch beyond their habits and comfort zone.
I guided them to create an infrastructure that separated the marriage from the business. The office doors were closed each day at the designated hour and no business talk occurred after that. During business hours there was no family talk allowed.
A regular meeting time to discuss business was set for the week. At this time, decisions about the previous week and plans for the coming one were made.
A division of labor was clarified based on each of their strengths and preferences. Plans for marketing were addressed regularly.
An annual business retreat was instituted where they go somewhere else to discuss the previous year’s activities and plan the next.
As a result of this reorganization, a book that had languished got written and published. Connections were made. Workshops were offered and business increased. I am gratified to report that Tim and Betty are still happily married and are still partners in a thriving business.
STORY #5 – A FRIENDSHIP AND BUSINESS SAVED
Talia and Sabrina got along very well. They had been college friends and decided to go into business together. The business was doing well, but there was one issue between them, which when it was brought up ended in a yelling match. They were both wise enough to recognize that this was a foreboding detriment to the continued success of the business and to their friendship.
They requested coaching on this one issue. I had them both describe their viewpoint about the issue, which was about compensation. In one session, I was able to help them agree on a solution that they could both accept. It was eliminated as a sore point, and they continued growing their business as well as their friendship.
Benefit from a perceptive, introductory session with Dr. Dorene Lehavi
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