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Picking your Partners with Care

Published:  November 13, 2017

Recently the importance of partners has taken a resounding center stage. It caused me to pause and see the wide array of partners in my life. 

Most people think a partner is reserved for a spouse or business partner, and yes that is true. Partners are also your team and those whom you allow into your inner circle whom you confide. It’s of huge significance to pick these people wisely. I’ve had the pleasure of both enriching partnerships and painful ones. And yes I said pleasure and enriching to both!

During an interview the candidate asked what qualities will make her succeed within my companies. Great question! I realize my answer is one that can aid us when selecting our partners. My answer was twofold. One – you must have heart. You must genuinely be willing to share yourself with those you serve and your fellow teammates. Two – you must be willing to grow and evolve. It’s good for everyone. I refer to these qualities as your style.

In the dating phase of dancing with a potential partner I can’t stress enough the importance of spending time getting to know their style AND knowing your own. It’s the difference between free flowing and potential suffering.

Heart, first I’m assuming we have already ruled that they have a heart and this matters to you! We all have different comfort levels when it comes to the old saying wear your heart on your sleeve. Some are easily open and live by it while others find it wildly uncomfortable and stay far away. If you find yourself on extreme ends of the spectrum it can break a partnership. I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum and found that when we were too far apart it didn’t work no matter how hard we tried. Know your style and comfort level but also be mindful of the company’s style and match it to yourself. It’s the best way for all to be comfortable and successful.

Being willing to evolve means that you are open to change, being flexible, collaboration, and having a knowledge growth mindset. You will grow together and expand one another. The opposite is someone who doesn’t have a growth mindset and is very content with how things are. No judgement here. My point is when you align an evolve mindset with a tried and true mindset this equals friction. Again know your style and to achieve an easier flow align your partners with yours.

The point of this post isn’t to get into the debate of who is right and wrong. Nor to dismiss the enriching lessons learned from working through two different styles. The point is that when you want to walk in stride with your partner so that you can tackle and rise above challenges it will be more effortless when your styles are aligned. You spend less time fighting on your style differences and more time conquering the task at hand.

I’ve pushed through a lot of pain, had misunderstood feelings, and fought to tread in murky water by not understanding the importance of this in my many partnerships. It is possible to meet in the middle, if of course both parties have an evolve mindset! For your inner circle, alignment is critical. For business partnerships, can I say it’s critical? No, because even through the pain of a tough partnership I have been enriched. Do I think they can sustain for the long haul? Not entirely, not at the level a partnership must be in order to thrive and sustain. The matter of relationships of course is a life-long learning lesson. I hope this post speaks to you and helps keep your partnerships soaring high!

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