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The traditional definition of a partnership in business may be a little dated now. Formal agreements, formation of a legal entity etc are somewhat old school in today’s economy. Partnerships however can provide a tremendous way to leverage each partners skill to build success for your project or business.

Many times, partnerships end in disaster. Even marriage with a binding legal contract and a desire to partner with someone you love immensely is destined to fail 40% to 50% of the time.

So how can we avoid the trap of getting in to business with someone only to find out that we didn’t know that person in the first place.

Firstly, and importantly I think you need to look at the key motivation to partner with someone.

For me personally, partnerships, or as I prefer to refer to them as “teams” are formed to bring strength to a business or project where the specific strength does not already exist.

I find that there area few key areas that need satisfying to make the team concept work:

Understand each other’s motivation. One member may want to leverage everyone’s skills to make a project more successful. Another member may simply want time off to enjoy time with their family!

Don’t look at input hours. The biggest mistake I see is one person says I am working more hours than you! Results are the currency not hours. Employees are paid by hours… this should be a big warning sign in a partnership!

Identify individual strengths up front so that you know your responsibilities

Identify the income split or revenue generation for each team member.

Attention to these four simple areas will allow you to develop teams that are more performant and less problematic.

What makes a partnership work is a clear understanding of each “players” ambition, intent or motivation. Once understood the negotiation for revenue is very simple. Each player has a valuable role.

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