As I wrote in my last BLOG, defining roles is critical. Once you have your role, stick to it, and stay within its scope. Do your job—not your partner’s job.
Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially if your business partner is also a family member or life partner, where you already have a strong relationship dynamic outside the business.
But for each of you to be effective in your role, you must be committed to it. Sometimes that means creating rules for how you’ll work with your partner both at the office as well as outside of it. Be open and honest with each other about how hard it is not to interfere with your partner’s position. Create guidelines for how you can give each other feedback, and when and how you’ll check in on crucial decisions. If you can’t be open about the struggle with each other, you’re alone on an island. And that’s not conducive to growing your partnership—or your business.
Conflict is inevitable, even in companies where the owners are completely aligned in vision. It can stem from deeper problems, but it can also come from simply caring a lot about the business. In fact, conflict can be good if you know how to address it constructively. It helps lead you toward innovation and growth.
But before you ever get to that point, you and your partner should talk about how you’re going to resolve conflicts. Imagine where conflict could happen before it happens and create an action plan. If one of you is a talker and the other wants to get to the bottom-line quickly, natural conflict is already there. Figure out a way to structure conversations that won’t end up with raised voices. For example, give the bottom-line partner the details they need first, then figure out where to add detail if the other partner wants to go deeper.
Healthy companies communicate well. That’s one of their greatest strengths. They deal with the same difficulties as other businesses, but they have the communication structures to help them get through.
Patricia Heaton, the beloved mom on Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, recently said, “In relationships, you’re going to fight. It’s ‘how do you fight?’ that’s key.”
There’s more to come so stay tuned. And again, thanks to my fellow EMYTH Coach Adam Traub for his incite. I’m here for a free consult when you’re ready.