In a previous blog, A Mistaken Belief About Choosing the Right Business Partner, I wrote about why the commonly held belief that business partners need to have complementary skills is not necessarily true. Yet, it is written and spoken of everywhere when the subject of business partners is addressed.
Having interviewed a number of successful business partnerships for my book, a survival guide for partnerships to avoid becoming one of the 70% that fail, it became clear that another common belief doesn’t hold true; that it is best when one partner has leadership status.
In the successful partnerships, I interviewed where the relationship between the partners is solid and the business is functioning at a high level, common to each one of them is how they don’t go ahead with a project, a client, or an issue unless there is a consensus between them to do so. No one is in a leadership position where they alone make the decision to go against their partner(s). In every case, even if they start from a point of disagreement, they continue to discuss it until there is agreement. If they do not reach that agreement, they drop it. One of them told me, if there is one partner who holds out against it, the rest assume that partner may be picking up something that is not so obvious to all of them and since there is unshakeable trust between them they let it go, whatever it was.
One of my former clients was attached to the conventional wisdom of what he called “best business practices” that he had been reading about for years. He insisted that those common wisdom “practices” had to be the focus of our coaching. He and his partner were nowhere near having implemented any of them. The challenge I had as their coach was to get him to abandon the books and look at the specifics of their unique personalities, values, goals, and everything about their partnership and business that was not addressed in the generalities of the “conventional wisdom” in books.
When it comes to common or conventional wisdom, always check it against what you know to be true for you, your group, your situation, and mostly your intuition. There are many examples in history where the common wisdom was wrong. Challenge it and do what is right for your unique partnership and business. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s idea of the way it is supposed to be. Trust yourselves and create your own wisdom.