Pro’s & Cons of Partnering

Mindfulness NetworkingPublished August 13, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Everyone talks about “partnering”. Too often what they mean is if you bring me some business, I’ll do my best to do a good job. Hardly a balanced partnership.

What I mean her when I refer to partnering I am referring to two people or organizations who both put some roughly equal “skin” in the game to take advantage unique skill sets and compatibilities.

There have been significant articles written lately talking about the importance to innovation of highly effective partnerships. Think Lennon/McCartney. I can say that in my career I have had the most success when I have had an effective partnership. Not only is it profitable, it is fun. Most solopreneurs struggle with loneliness (so do entrepreneurs with a staff, but no peers), I frequently hear folks say they will “show up” for someone else in a way they won’t show up for themselves. Partnerships are looking pretty attractive right?

Have you ever gotten divorced or been through a tough break up?

A few years ago the great recession was being particularly unkind to me. I was lonely, I knew I was not working up to my potential.

Someone appeared whom I had met at an exclusive conference a few years before. Let me be clear as I describe our “partnership” I completely own in hind sight my missteps in ignoring the many red flags that in my isolation and fear I chose to ignore. What could go wrong, she was smart with an MA & PhD in psychology plus an MBA, wow. She promised me the moon and I bought every drop of her bullshit. We worked out a working relationship based on fee split. She refused to sign even a simple agreement. Huge red flag, but there I was moving forward anyway. To make a long story short I brought in a large non-profit client. The newly appointed executive director was inexperienced and not in a good place emotionally. There is usually a reason when someone gets 2 advanced degree’s in psychology, My partner as I found out over time was a deeply harmed person. One of the ways her particular form of harm surfaced in how she manipulated others to protect herself based on her fears. I was toast. Too trusting and not capable of seeing how manipulative she could be. Our client was also very emotionally vulnerable and was soon wrapped my partners finger. This is about the time my partner realized she could make a lot more money if she manipulated the client to take me out of the picture. There are lots of details being left out, but lets just say there were 1000’s of dollars in lost income, plus the client was convinced to sue me which additionally cost me a small fortune in legal fees. I settled for a small fraction of their claim, but it was cheaper for me than paying more legal fees. A This whole incident is a painful lesson of a lifetime. I tell it it here only for your edification. So you can learn to avoid your own painful lesson. After the fact friends that knew her said they were uncomfortable with telling me their true opinion of this person.

Some take aways;

Partnering is incredible valuable when done well
Be aware of your emotional state
Get EVERTHING in writing
Have impartial outside advisors to check in with who can be blunt

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