All businesses and all individuals grow through natural stages of development over the course of a lifetime. Or they stagnate. They cease to grow. Growth spurts and developmental transitions naturally occur approximately every 7–10 years for individuals. Businesses also go through transitions and developmental stages when they grow from start-up through expansion. In business these stages are often marked by additional products, enlarged customer reach, and of course  increased revenues.

Having a smooth functioning culture with happy employees who have the support they require to do their job and the resources for their personal and professional development all begins at the top—it starts with the leadership. For business owners and business partners, having a long-view toward future transition out of the company or sale of the business puts markers for growth into perspective.

Business Partners Need to Learn How to Face Demands of Responding to Life & Business Stages Together

When business partners are aware of these long-term objectives—and their partnering relationship is solid—communicating through growth stages and transitions, providing access to resources for individual development, and other cultural values, naturally go hand-in-hand with productivity expectations and profit markers.

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Even though it’s a necessary and natural part of growth, transitioning into the next stage always provokes some discomfort, and even anxiety about the changes to come. Some owners are more sensitive to changes on the horizon, expect and anticipate them, and plan ahead. Others are heads-down focused on the day-to-day demands. These heads-down types are often blindsided by the new and unexpected needs that arise. They often resist suggested changes—especially if they don’t fit their picture of how the company will or should grow. Without healthy, agreed-upon ways to discuss and make decisions, such disparity between those ready to go fast and those reticent to change strains relationships.

In business, with so much on the line, change requires understanding, negotiation, and new strategies and tactics for partners to stay focused on mutual outcomes.

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At DJHPartners, Inc. Dr. Jan Hoistad has found that adopting a partnering mindset, along with skills and tools that promote connection and consistency in good times and stressful times, empowers business partners with a choice about how they wish to conduct business together. A  growth mindset and continuous learning culture empower both owners and their employees with the capabilities necessary to navigate natural growth transitions.  It welcomes the uniqueness each person brings to the relationship and holds the partnership stable when one or more go through personal developments or challenges as well. At its best, these assist partners in navigating through change and growing together for the long -haul.

What works at one stage of your business partnership may not work at another. And if a partner’s personal life goes haywire, or demands more attention, as in the case of pregnancy, divorce, illness, or death in a family, is your partnership armed with the tools and skills to pivot, to move through the changes as a team? Whether a change is anticipated or unexpectedly thrust upon you, having not only an agreed-upon approach to carrying out your business objectives, a firm business model, and a working business plan, it’s also important to have an agreed-upon approach to relating—so you know you can count on one another to work through the challenges together.

The need for care and clear communication is important at each choice point from start-up, through phases of growth, through to future planning for succession, exit, or sale. While business and personal lives are sometimes not fully integrated, there is a need for care not only due to impacts on the business success, but also impacts on personal lives, the fruition of personal dreams, and fulfillment. And care for your relationship as business partners and human beings.

Consciously acknowledging that business and personal changes will occur naturally over time, functioning consistently with a growth mindset, you can arm yourself with mindset, tools, and skills so your business remains focused, your employees and customers are minimally impacted, and you support one another through the transitions and choice points that occur.

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Dr. Jan Hoistad