How to Run a Successful Business Together as Business Partners

As in all close interpersonal relationships, when business professionals are unaware of different relationship styles—without a compatible mindset, and set of tools, and skills they can use together—each partner individually reverts to what they know best. What they know best is typically unconscious, old, less functional, patterns. This article will tackle these three points of context and answer the following questions... What are the pitfalls of co-owning or operating a business with your partner Understanding the choices and consequences of relationship styles What are the four keys to a successful business partnership Like everyone else, put two business owners together and you’ll find some random combination of approaches to relating which can get them in trouble when faced with conflict and their styles are different. Married couples in business together can be doubly susceptible since they live and work together. I always say when partnerships (personal or professional) are going well, they are wonderful. It's when faced with conflict or disagreements that relationship style differences bring on a challenge to change. What originally feels like a positive connection becomes confusing. Responses that used to work no longer work. Without new information, people do not know how to work themselves out of this sticky situation on their own. They can push it under the rug, but typically it does not go away without being addressed. That's why many couples work with therapists or life coaches. In the world of work, business, and careers, having a business coach or business transformation consultant [...]

Coaching for Business Partners: 4 Times to Work with a Skilled Business Relationships Coach

Business partnerships have a lasting impact on how and where a business will grow. It takes clarity and communication to make it work. All parties understanding their responsibilities, fulfilling the expectations of the mutually agreed-upon objectives for growing the business. Establishing processes to maximize each other’s strengths, focusing on commonalities in values, and shared visions for business outcomes creates a foundation of trust from which to grow. Business partner and owner coaching lead to successful outcomes. Figuring out how to bring unique individuals together in a successful business partnership is the goal. Because when things are going well, there’s an almost indescribable energy. And when things are going well between you, it carries throughout your organization and all relationships. Together you create better. You communicate better. You work better. You play better. You just do it all better. - Jan Hoistad This article takes a look at coaching for business partners and breaks down 4 times when you need the expertise of an experienced Business Relationships Coach whether you've been in business for a while or just starting a new business. How To Make a Business Partnership Work Business Partner Case Study Focusing For Better Alignment and Successful Outcomes Preventing or Repairing Difficulties in Business Partnerships Summary If you’re looking for guidance on improving your relationships in the business world, you’ll find lots of information on developing sales and management or leadership styles. Some resources focus on aspects such as presence, empathy, confidence, and listening skills. Information on how these [...]

Crafting the Arc of Your Career and Life Story One Life-Stage at a Time

Careers, businesses and family lives develop through a series of phases. When fully—some would say success"fully" lived—each phase has an arc that rises, peaks, descends and resolves as the next begins. If you approach your career, business and personal developments with this natural structure and rhythm in mind, it allows you to live the current stage fully, anticipate and plan for next phase. This is true no matter your age, life stage or generation. Coaching can help you excavate these aspects of your life, oftentimes making a life feel richer in the reflection and taking intentional action. Nowadays, with such long-life, you have the opportunity to approach each decade, each 10 - 15 year phase acknowledging an underlying natural rhythm, focusing the arc of your activities toward outcomes—the personal and career growth, self-development learning and chronological life-stage accomplishments you desire—as you design, craft and create your life story. If you are a business leader, business owner or entrepreneur, on this foundation you can successfully craft the arc of business developments and plan the future with eyes wide open. Couples and Dual-Career Couples can integrate personal and professional with eyes wide open.   It's Your Story—You Get to Rewrite and Build Each Stage When you acknowledge the context of multiple 10-15 year phases, your career story takes on personal meaning—because you write it, and live it. Like many authors, the outcomes for their characters are not always fully known, but various factors compel the actions and eventual outcomes. The [...]

4 Business Partnering Styles and Their Impacts on You and Your Business

In this article you’ll be introduced to four relationship styles entered into by business partners. In four articles indicated throughout and at the end of this overview, each style is discussed in greater detail. Each style comes with conscious or unconscious assumptions and expectations. These in turn contribute in different ways to: Feelings of ease, trust, respect, and the ability to count on one another. A sense of individual contribution, recognition, and loyalty. Ease and openness of communication. Invitation, support, and encouragement of unique perspectives as part of a creative culture. A commitment to working on the “same team,” An attitude that “We can resolve anything together,” in navigating decisions and differences that impact personal satisfaction, as well as business success. Each style is briefly analyzed along the following dimensions: The conscious or unconscious relationship mindset or perspective. This dimension is about ultimate decision-making power. It may supersede title or even who appears to be in charge. Who ultimately gets their way, or final say? Are you operating as partners, a team or as a solo decision-maker? An approach to decision-making across all aspects of the business. Where and how are you given autonomy to make decisions individually as a business partner? Is it clear when decisions must be considered together? How do you wish this to filter throughout your team? A perspective on differences, conflict, and how they get resolved. Are you in agreement about how you will handle differences or conflict? Do you have ways to stay [...]

Successful Business or Career Transition Planning Should Always Include Your Mate

Navigating Career Transitions Together During COVID-19 The Pandemic has been challenging on all levels of business, career, family, couple, and work relationships. I wrote this article before the pandemic hit, and hit our business lives, career trajectory, and pocketbooks. Work from home (WFH) is now highly endorsed by many, yet not possible depending on the industry and family needs. Business owners, dual-career couples, and couples in business together are spinning with demands. So reading this, your perspective on transitions you had planned before may be enlarged to include not only transitioning out of a company or high-level job down the road—but maybe a shift or major reroute altogether. Some of you are leaving your company and taking a new position. Or your mate is. Or maybe you need to have further discussions about going into business together. Or one of you wants to go back to school to be retooled. Retirement or slowing down may be pushed down the road. Either due to economics, recent life experience or just the facts and changes brought about internally or externally, the concept of "transition" may now need to become "revision" or "re-imagine." And you need to do it together. Because you impact one another. Like a mobile one parts shift and they all shift. Psychologically we're called on to change. To be created in our responses. Not immediately in some circumstances, but that's the ultimate outcome we need to open to. So those that use imagination, who "imagine" and "re-imagine" will [...]

Coaching The Big Picture Business Partner Relationship Way—Style 4/4

In the beating heart of every entrepreneur, business owner, and business partner, is a desire to move with ease and speed, to be one step ahead of the curve, to have a partner and team working smoothly in the flow, laser-focused on achieving mutual goals and agreed upon outcomes, driven to succeed. A business is fertile ground for partnering with one or more people, often with complimentary skills, energy and enthusiasm, sometimes investing money, bringing connections or a book of business. Like many relationships, business partnerships are sometimes humorously referred to as a working marriage. Both are “working relationships.” Humor highlights the complexity such close relationships bring. And like the long-term commitment of a personal relationship, the spirit that brings people together in business also requires interpersonal skill and attention to make the business and the relationship successful over the long-haul. Yet while business partners enter into their legal and working relationship with positive expectations, even enthusiasm, statistics show that anywhere between 50% to 70% of business partnerships ultimately fail. How do you inoculate yourself against such a demise? This article introduces an approach to navigating an important business relationship that should be a great asset to you and your business. It offers insight into the mindset, skills, and tools to work as Big Picture Partners™. This style of relating in your business provides you the communication tools and processes so you arrive at mutually satisfying solutions to your business needs—so you enjoy the process of owning, growing, and [...]

The Unilateral Decision-Making Relationship Style in Business Partners 3/4

This article is part of a series describing 4 Business Partnering Styles that can have an impact on you and your business. Refer to the article published here  to get a broad overview of these approaches. The first relationship style can be found here: The Dominant—Non-Dominant Relationship Style #1/4. Then I explore The Difficulties of Business Partnerships With Undefined Roles # 2/4 and the ramifications of this relationship approach.  Today's article focuses on Unilateral Decision-Makers #3/4.  On Thursday I'll publish the final article in this series and we'll explore the Big Picture Partnering approach #4/4.   Unilateral Decision-Makers Typically Function Like Roommates Unilateral Decision-Makers are initially attracted to what they perceive as one another’s equal competence, independence, and productivity. These are typically seen as complementary skill sets which advance their business. This is also a common default relating style among independent, educated, highly ambitious couples, who are sometimes couples in business together, running a home and an office together. When this relationship is working, each partner typically feels energized, supported, and trusting of the work, the relationship and the business future. It's fun! Parallel Play Having characteristics of entrepreneurs, these owners are focused on making their vision a reality. They each tend to have take-charge and in-control personalities. As a result, a major defining characteristic of Unilateral Decision-Maker owners is that they make decisions independent of one another. Often this is done with the best of intentions, assuming they will be in agreement, but without consciously taking their partner’s feedback into consideration. [...]

The Difficulties of Business Partnerships With Undefined Roles: Style 2/4

This article is part of a series describing 4 Business Partnering Styles that can have an impact on you and your business. Refer to the article published here  to get a broad overview of these approaches. The 2nd article focused on The Dominant—Non-Dominant Relationship Style #1/4 and can be found here.  Today's article describes The Difficulties of Business Partnerships With Undefined Roles # 2/4 and the ramifications of this relationship approach.  Next week we’ll dive deeply into the impacts of Unilateral Decision-Makers #3/4, and finally, the Big Picture Partner approach #4/4.   Partnerships With Undefined Roles People enter into Undefined Role business relationships under a number of circumstances. One is when they dive right in to the day-to-day demands and assume they will sort out the roles later—or sort them out over time. And often, they never get around to it. Others fall into an Undefined Role style because they have an underlying, often unconscious, desire to share everything. In the beginning stages of start-up this happens frequently and may feel both exciting and supportive as they discuss everything, sometimes ad nauseam. Over time, this need for connection proves to be inefficient and eventually keeps a business from achieving the growth they may or may not have targeted. This style may lead to placing value in interpersonal relationship satisfaction above and beyond business objectives. This can feel satisfying in what is called a “life style business” but it frequently doesn’t lead to successful growth. Merging or Lack of Boundaries Another version [...]

Business Partnering Styles: The Dominant—Non-Dominant Relationship Style 1/4

There are 4 Business Partnering Styles that can have an impact on you and your business. Refer to the article published last week to get a broad overview of these approaches. Today's article focuses on The Dominant—Non-Dominant Relationship Style #1/4. In the coming days we'll dive deeply into the impacts of Business Partnerships With Undefined Roles # 2/4, Unilateral Decision-Makers #3/4, and finally, the Big Picture Partner approach #4/4.   A key feature of the Dominant—Non-Dominant relationship dynamic, is that one person is in charge and ultimately makes final decisions. Typically this is a one owner or business leader situation, where full responsibility falls on the shoulders of that individual. When carried into a business partnership, the Dominant—Non-Dominant dynamic may be a clearly stated agreement. In this case it is an agreed upon mindset or perspective from which all discussions are had, goals are set, decisions are made, action is laid out, and accountability is followed—achieving the end-results, the expectations of the dominant person. Without such clarity, confusion may ensue. Domineering When the “who’s in charge” question is apparent, theoretically differences, disagreement, or conflict would not arise nor be addressed. It would be clear that the dominant individual’s preferences take the lead. If we focus on power and productivity in day-to-day relating within a Dominant—Non-Dominant dynamic, it will be experienced as more autocratic when it is demanding or domineering in nature. Such leaders are referred to as dominating, bossy, or dictatorial. Sharing of ideas and information feels unwelcome or stilted. Respect [...]

Four Choice Points Affecting Your Business or Career

A choice point is a wake-up call to reimagine your future. Over the course of business, career, and personal life you come to points when you’re dissatisfied, want growth, or desire change. A transition will happen no matter what, but what you choose will have a profound effect on the course of your life. How do you want to respond? Over the course of business, career, and personal life you come to points when you’re dissatisfied, want growth, or desire change. A transition will happen no matter what, but what you choose will have a profound effect on the course of your life. We call these “choice points” because you have a choice in how you respond or capitalize on them. Awareness of how decisions in one area of your life affect all other areas is complex. At a choice point you can move forward fully aligned, with confidence, or you can be reactive and become sidelined, resulting in future consequences you may not want. You can settle for less or you can take control of how you respond to the choice point so you build toward a better outcome. We’ll guide you so you confidently land on the best possible outcome that connects your immediate choices with the whole-life future you envision. With a ChoicePoint partner, you’ll transition with greater confidence and achieve the freedom you’ve earned.   “When an experienced professional adds ChoicePoint solutions, you can almost feel their body relax, they become excited again, more hopeful, they [...]

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