“There were the best of times, there were the worst of times.” These sentences begin the famous book, “The Tale of Two Cities” by Alexandra Dumas. Partnerships can be great and at times terrible depending on the situation. Disagreements, squabbles, debates, and arguments can create difficult discussions for partners.

Remember the saying, “two’s company, three’s a crowd?” The saying focusing on the observation many parents have made about how well two children can get along and how quickly cooperation and sharing can evaporate and the twosome becomes a threesome: one child is usually left out. A two-person partnership can work well for a long period of time. Problems can emerge, though, if one partner develops a close working alliance or affiliation with an outside party. Whether it be three children or three adults, a three-person relationship can be difficult to manage.

Where there is danger, there lurks opportunity; whenever there is opportunity, there lurks danger. The two are inseparable.” - Earl Nightingale. Breakdowns are inevitable in a partnership, especially if there are big dreams, goals, and risks. In strong partnerships, partners may get upset, frustrated, or angry but they don’t succumb to negative thinking and pessimism. They don’t bring up the past; they learn to move on. They use life’s challenges as opportunities for learning, breakthrough, and recommittment to action. Resilient partners learn to “right themselves and regain their footing.” Similar to the experience in piloting a small sailboat where capsizing is a constant companion, resilient partners simply figure out what to do to get the operation back in position after a project “capsizes.”

Successful people get things done. They accomplish things and make things happen. Execution refers to the ability to cut through obstacles and complaints and to get the job done well in a specified period of time. Businesses and partnerships thrive when all parties know how to execute; when they are clear about their goals, roles, and accountabilities and set out action plans to produce expected results in an agreed time frame, magic happens. Goals get accomplished, there are fewer loose ends, customers are satisfied, profits rise, and people feel good.

business partnership successA healthy partnership is does not mean the partners are always in a placid state of agreement. Disagreements are normal and natural in healthy partnerships. Words can be exchanged and tempers frayed. Whether or not it’s just a difference of opinion or an argument, partners need to talk things out. Someone has to initiate the “talking it out” conversation. It might as well be you! That’s one way you bring added value to your partnership. You provide an opportunity to create mutual understanding, respect, and problem solving. Your conversation might go something like this:

Partners often disagree. Sometimes disagreements throw partners off task. Rather than simply recognizing there are different points of view or perspectives about some issue, partners can slip into a dangerous, locked in location: the world of right or wrong thinking; the power struggle. In the power struggle, partners get positioned into a single minded thinking, “My way, not yours” or “I’m right, you’re wrong.” Collaboration falls by the wayside, giving way to a more competitive, heels dug in way of communicating.