When I get the call, “my partner is not doing what he/she promised to do and I’m doing all the work”, I know that they haven’t been meeting.
Regular meetings are often avoided by business partners and even businesses in general. Sometimes they are seen as a waste of time because not a lot gets accomplished. They may be considered boring, time consuming and sometimes emotions take over when disagreements come up. As a mentor and coach to business owners I insist that partners meet on a regular schedule and also with their teams.
Partners who do not have regular ongoing scheduled meetings to clarify, plan and strategize are jeopardizing their very partnership and the business. What I know as a fact, when partners and departments within a business don’t talk to each other, at the very least, misunderstandings and false assumptions abound, ill feelings begin to fester, the business does not function as well as it could and for certain, money is left on the table. Eventually I may get the call to rescue a dying partnership relationship.
Tad and Jonathan were ready to quit when they called me. Each accused the other of not fulfilling the tasks they were obligated to do. They barely remembered the last time they met to discuss the business. Each focused on whatever he thought he should and viewed the other as the problem when things didn’t work.
It was mind boggling to hear the differences in perception of where they were and where they were going. As they worked separately without consulting each other, the space between them was widening.
In facilitating the difficult conversation between them the first thing I taught them was how to listen to each other. They were grateful and amazed that they could have a conversation that left out the emotions.
Next they came to the realization that their basic original desires and dreams for this business were still the same and they actually still liked each other. It became clear that the resentment that each of them was harboring about the other was the result of not communicating. Although each was doing what he thought he should, they were on separate paths. Tad was in charge of finances and the IT department. Managers of the various teams, design, production, marketing and fulfillment reported directly to Jonathan. But even the team managers didn’t meet and nowhere was the infrastructure to discuss how everything fit into the big picture of the original vision and mission the partners had planned.
One of the greatest advantages of having a partner was ignored; having someone to share responsibility, brainstorm new ideas, and ongoing evaluations about what is working and what isn’t.
Regular meetings with tight and useful agenda items keep the work of the business on track with the parts fitting together like a well-oiled machine the effects of which show up in a growing bottom line.
Overcome your habit of avoiding meetings and build in meaningful schedules to talk about the big picture and the details at least once a week.
You have made a major investment of time, maybe money and your dream. Your business affects many people besides yourselves. Don’t let it fail.