What kind of ship always sinks?
That joke is sadly funny because there is so much truth to it. Talk to almost any entrepreneur, and they can tell you a partnership breakup story. Most are messy.
I have been a part of a partnership breakup. I have also coached partners through challenges as well. There is one theme that has risen to the top and could change the dynamics of a relationship in peril.
Do the things that got you here.
Most of the time you read how you need to change, innovate, shift, pivot, whatever. For your partnership relationships, that is not the case.
When your business is small, and you are rowing in the same direction, you meet frequently, talk openly, honestly, and hang out outside of work. You genuinely like each other.
As the business grows, there are more people and less time. You divide and conquer. The revenues turn into profits, and you are not as hungry. It is about managing and leading and you have separate things to manage and lead. You get married, have children, and life gets busier. You grow and change.
You meet less. You hang out less. You argue more and don’t see the business or goals as the same. It is fine for now … but soon, you see a fork in the road.
You stopped doing what got you here. You stopped taking the time and effort to stay on the same page. You do not go to lunch together anymore. You do not play golf on Friday afternoon. Your families do not get together on the weekend. You cancel the weekly one on one meeting because there are more important things to focus on this quarter.
Partnerships do not die because of one big blow up. They die one interaction at a time. When you let those negative interactions build up over time they eventually outweigh the positive ones. You would think money would make it easier to “like” each other during the hard times but it’s actually the opposite. More money, more problems.
It is like your marriage. Stop dating your spouse and you grow apart. Stop meeting and talking with your partner and the same thing can happen.
Partnerships are great. You can go farther faster with others than you can by yourself. I know. I’m in one.
Do not forget what got you here. It will get you there.