Managing the expectations of partnerships

“Get the expectations clear up front to prevent your business partnership’s failure.” Jean Charles

I was sitting with a new client, listening to how they wanted to set up the business. Super qualified, experienced, dedicated, I heard the rich and thought out commercial philosophy in full. And now is the time to set up their own legal office. Fine. What were my thoughts?

Fine, I wanted to agree, but I had the suspicion that there was a “fly” disturbing our conversation.

So my experience as a business mentor told me that it was time to prod. And very quickly, we were not chatting about their own letterhead, but being associated with partnership. Their former boss in Jerusalem, who is much respected, wanted my person to set up in Tel Aviv. And this would be a partnership. Good.

Very good. They would be linked to a fine national team. They would not need to search for the first clients, ensuring an initial revenue stream. Groovy!

And one last question: Did this concept match their own philosophy and approach? Well, not exactly. And suddenly, I had the “fly” in my sights.

A few rapid questions later, and the truth began to eek out. No, there was nothing wrong professionally or personally with the boss of old, but he had rejected the initial suggestion of partnership. So what was their understanding of a “partnership”, I asked.

And suddenly, a chasm opened up. It appeared that assumptions had been made by both sides. The expectations of all had not been defined, and the road t confusion was wide open in front of them all.

In 1997, Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a short but brilliant book about the Four Agreements Of Life.  

Don’t Make Assumptions. Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama.

I encourage my readers to find a copy of the book.

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