Partnerships : The Break Up

Relationships are tricky. I don’t care if they are platonic, romantic or business based. They are a minefield of emotional and logic filled traps that can blow up in your face the minute you go the wrong way and step on one. The older I get, the more it is apparent that we accord certain relationships with more respect or maybe fear than others. For example, some people can have a horrible mud slinging, insult fest type argument with their sibling but would never dare to lose their cool with a workmate. In other cases I’ve seen business partners treat each other horribly but their partners with such love or worse, their business partners with more respect than their significant other. We are complex individuals, how we relate to one another is not always the same.

When you add in other variables, such as whether we love, respect, hate, like or dislike people; our interactions with them are coloured by these feelings. Not to mention our personality traits and quirks. Your husband could be an outgoing individual, a sharer of note. You, closed and shy. Depending on how you interact with each other this could be a great thing. Hubby makes sure he deflects any uncomfortable social situations by taking on the brunt of the expectation to socialise. Meanwhile, you could be the person that people come to, to escape and sit down to have long and meaningful chats in a corner.

Imagine how this works out in the case of a business partnership? Maybe your business partner is the one that seeks the limelight (great for networking events and launch parties) and you like the background (also just as wonderful as you work behind the scenes). But what happens when your business partner spends too much time socialising and not conducting business? Or you refuse to attend key social events and continually miss out on partnership opportunities because you just weren’t present. All of this can culminate in a lot of frustration from both sides. Lack of communication exacerbates the issue because there is a feeling of unequal input from both sides without a discussion to air out the issues. Then it all blows up. The business partnership ends.

It’s a story that is heard a lot, especially in the world of startups. A lot of blaming the other partner is also a standard response but do people ever ask themselves, how did I contribute to this? How was I contributing to the demise of the partnership? Where could I have steered the ship to safer and calmer waters to discuss issues rather than yell over wind, choppy waves and thunder?

As captains of your business relationship, have you asked yourselves if you are still on the same course? Same goals? Is it treasure you both seek or just adventure? This post isn’t really about giving you those answers but about helping you start to open dialogue with yourself and your business partner.

As we start another week striving to do better and achieve our goals, at Konza we are adding another goal; speaking up and out to our business partners, clients and loved ones about what support we need, where we can do better and where we have failed. We urge you to do the same.

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