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 even transitioning or selling your business together.

The Benefits of the Big Picture Style of Relating

Integrating the Big Picture Partnering™ approach has saved numerous  partners loss of revenue due to inefficiency, years of heartache due to disagreements, and produced great satisfaction as they reach for their goals together.

In the previous articles, you’ve considered the pros and cons of 3 other styles of relating. These are the Dominant—Non-Dominant, Undefined Role, and Unilateral Decision-Maker relationship styles. Here’s a quick visual overview, however I’d encourage you to read about each style. You’ll find the links at the end of this post.

Reading these articles, you’ve learned that unconsciously intermixing of styles between partners—personal or professional—causes confusion between people and disruption to the efficient flow of business and interpersonal satisfaction.

It’s common, and there’s a solution.

The fourth way of relating I want to introduce is called the Big Picture Business Partnering™ style. While professionals in the other three partnering styles eventually experience difficulties and dissatisfaction that can derail their communication and ultimately their business growth, Big Picture Partners are coached so they become armed with the mindset, tools, and skills to:

  • Listen to one another and make decisions together.
  • Confidently face differences or disagreements together as a team, so you remain focused on what you value, namely what’s best for the business and your partnership.
  • Implement new and efficient ways to connect and stay connected.
  • Clarify and balance individual as well as mutual strengths and responsibilities—so you develop the best in yourself, maximize what is most satisfying in your partnership, and work toward the business outcomes you desire.
  • Stay focused on the long-view, so steps taken at each stage create the ultimate outcomes you desire, individually, together, and for the business.

The EcoSystem Big Picture Partners Create and Maintain Together

Guided by a highly skilled business coach coach specifically a coach skilled in working with relationships and business partners, these owners develop the mindset, tools, and skills of “true partnering.” Together these business partners create a whole eco-system that supports each of them individually, their business, and their personal lives. They are not “in-each-other’s-back-pockets” nor are they necessarily outside-the-office best friends, but they do value and attend to the blend of one another’s professional desires and personal needs as they navigate business start-up, growth, and exit planning.

  1. The business is strengthened by the individual uniqueness which you each bring to the working relationship.
  2. Fully aligned across business and interpersonal values, you support each other’s personal needs and goals.
  3. All business values, goals, and growth are supported and strengthened by your commitments to the ecosystem.
  4. You have the skills and tools to focus your entire team on the same business objectives.
  5. Everyone contributes to a positive work environment based on agreed upon values, mission, and systems that deliver the best for the customer.
  6. Your business stabilizes and grows as you come together to create mutually satisfying Our World solutions. Business objectives, needs, concerns, go on the table for discussion; only win/win solutions go into Our World.

Two or More People, One Journey

In the Big Picture style, you mutually create this entire ecosystem for your business—and your life—that expresses your values. You’ll see in the diagram above there are three worlds, which are encompassed a larger partnering universe. This is the ecosystem from which you conduct and grow your business.

In the diagram, the circle on the left symbolizes Your World (Partner A) which comprises all your individual strengths, capabilities, and work responsibilities for which you are accountable. The circle on the right is Your Partner’s World (Partner B), which comprises all these aspects of your business partner’s work-life. These individual realms are identified, agreed upon, and supported by each of you as partners. The ovals extending from each business partner’s world represents other aspects of their unique lives, including family, friends, finances, leisure activities, and so on. In the Big Picture approach, alignment of the personal and professional are necessary and supported.

The center circle—Our Business World—encompasses the all aspects of your business which are need to be mutually agreed upon and revisited regularly. These joint decisions are the foundation of your business and your growth toward ultimate outcomes. They include everything from mission, values, strategic planning, employee engagement, decisions for expansion, and so on. Nothing goes into Our World unless it is a win/ win, mutually satisfying decision which you learn using the Big Picture tools and skills.

You will notice in the diagram that there is a field surrounding the three worlds: Partner A’s World, Partner B’s World, and Our Business World. This is not a dead space. It represents positive behaviors and communications that you practice and role model for all your employees and everyone you and they contact. The ecosystem values you consciously create and emulate become your company culture and part of your brand strength.

Mindset, Tools, and Skills

While all relationships—personal or professional—embody some aspects of all 4 relating styles, when your goal is to become better partners, the mindset, tools, and skills are coach-able and achievable. I’ve given you only a broad brush here in this article. As a business coach for entrepreneurs, business owners and as a coach for couples and couples in business, I have seen many people quickly adapt this style. Integrating the Big Picture Partnering™ approach has saved numerous  partners loss of revenue due to inefficiency, years of heartache due to disagreements, and produced great satisfaction as they reach for their goals together. They know they can trust that their partner has their back and will work through differences, using the skills they have learned together.

Read about all 4 relationship styles now by DOWNLOADING the full paper here:


For a case example of business partners successfully implementing the Big Picture approach, please read this article.

Please look around the website for more resources, contact us here, or email Dr. Jan directly  to schedule a conversation. Let’s discuss your partnering needs and I’ll share more about the mindset, tools, and skills of Big Picture Partnering can benefit you and you business, so you can have the great partnership that expresses your values and dreams, enriches your pocketbook, and your entire life!

Pitfalls to Running a Successful Business Together as Business Partners

To download both  White Papers for business partners, please go here.

Additional information for Couples, Dual Career Couples, and Couples in Business can be found here.

To discuss your partnership needs, contact me directly here.

Dr. Jan Hoistad

Business Coach for Entrepreneurs/Business Transformation Consultant/ Career Coach/Executive Coach Relationship Expert, Blogger, Author

When a business partnership is going well, it’s great. There’s energy, creativity, productivity. Differences put partnership stability to the test. Coming together as business partners pools connections, spreads financial risk, may increase the employee base, and expand the marketplace. Difference can feel like something resolvable together. But when experienced as threatening, it creates disconnection. If there is out-and-out conflict, a business partnership can quickly deteriorate and spread negativity like a virus throughout a team or company. Having the mindset, tools, and skills to navigate together is a necessity for a smooth functioning business and long-lasting partnership.