When Partnerships Go Bad

The current number one album in America is by the Civil Wars, a male-female vocal duo who have not spoken to each other since they put the finishing touches on the album. Their partnership hit a big bump in late 2012 and they decided to call a halt in the midst of a European tour. The stated reason was “irreconcilable differences of ambition.”

In the new Jobs movie, Steve Jobs’ skill as an articulate leader, deal maker and visionary contrasts with Steve Wozniak’s skill as a tech genius. The made a great team, but eventually Woz grew tired of his situation and left the company.

During my radio career, I have worked with a large number of on-air partners. Some of the partnerships were harder to finesse than others, resulting in major stress. But with time, and with good leadership from certain managers, my collaborations produced incredible ratings and revenue.

If you have a partner in your business, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Is the whole truly greater than the sum of its parts? In other words, do the partners offer more as a team than each could achieve separately?
  2. Does it bother you if the other person gets more attention/credit?
  3. Can you appreciate the other person’s differences in the way he/she approaches life and work?
  4. Does it bother you if the other person puts in fewer hours than you do?
  5. Are you willing to make compromises to maintain the partnership?
  6. Can you share your feelings openly with your partner or do you keep frustrations to yourself?
  7. Do you always come to your partner’s defense/rescue when necessary?
  8. Are you generally able to resolve money issues amicably?
  9. Does it bother you when the other partner wants to control something that you usually control?
  10. Are differences resolved through respectful discussion or via screaming matches?

A successful business partnership is like a marriage. You must be prepared to give and take and realize that the partnership will constantly evolve. People change and circumstances change. It takes work to make maintain a successful partnership, whether it is a marriage or a business relationship.

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