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Improving Business Partnerships

Working with small businesses, I often come across partnerships in which the two partners are experiencing some conflict about their business. Recently, I worked with such a partnership using MindSonar to shine a light on the thinking patterns behind the differences. This understanding led to them being able to review the way worked so that each played to their strengths and were able to cover each other’s blind spots.

The partners (whom I shall call Peter and  Carol – not their real names) wanted the following question answering through their MindSonar session:

How can we best use our different approaches to develop a more efficient business model”.

They described recent disagreements which were mainly down to two things:

  1. Division of the administrative side of the business, particularly record keeping and the organisation of accounting records.
  2. The future direction and growth strategy for the business.

Each partner completed a MindSonar profile in this context.

Interpretation

IWe explored their profiles, noting both the main differences in their thinking patterns as well as the areas in which they shared the same blind spots. Two particular examples of this were:

  1. A large difference between the partners’ approach to change. Carol had a preference for change (spilt between Developmentand Change), whereas Peter had a very strong preference for Maintenance.
  2. They had similar (very strong) scores for the Optionsmeta programme. This was strengthened by neither scoring highly for the BLUE Graves drive.  However, in his criteria Peter had added a caveat about options of “where appropriate”

The partners recognised their profiles as accurate and could identify a number of things which were contributing to their conflict.  In particular, they could see that their different approaches to change created disagreements around the future direction and growth strategy of the business.

They also both recognised their high OptionsMeta Programme and acknowledge that they were good at identifying and constructing procedures, but not at following them. They agreed that this explained the tension around administrative work. However, Peter could identify areas outside business in which he did use a Proceduremeta programme.

After exploring those and other differences in their profiles, the partners identified a number of  actions that they would take immediately. Two key ones were:

  1. Peter would be responsible for identifying the areas of the business that were currently successful and determine procedures to build on this and which could be applied to any new areas (using his MaintenanceMeta Programme and “stepping into” the Proceduremeta programme that he used in other areas). Peter was open to options about some areas of the business, but not his own speciality which he felt was right where it needed to be.  Therefore, Carol would have responsibility for identifying possible options for general business development, including new areas in her area of specialty that she could take forward (Using her OptionsandChangeMeta Programmes).
  2. For administration and other procedural activities, they agreed that they would consider out-sourcing these, recognising that neither of them particularly wanted to spend the time in the business doing these. Again Peter would “step into” the Proceduremeta programme in the meantime.

Following the session, the clients said they were impressed with the accuracy of the profiles and the usefulness of the exercise in which they identified their own and each other’s strengths and blind-spots.  They felt that they now had a great understanding of how they could work to make the most of each one’s strengths.  They expressed an interest in further coaching to develop other areas identified.

Of course, this is a brief summary, and the partners discovered many other things during the session which they felt would enable them to work better as a partnership, leading to greater personal and business success.

If you work with partnerships or very small teams, you should definitely consider using MindSonar to really optimise your working relationships and team efficiency.  You can find a MindSonar Professional near you in the Registry on this site.

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