Have you ever had the experience of a relationship that didn’t work?
Perhaps it was a romantic relationship, or maybe it was someone that you hired to work for you. Relationships are complex, and of course they all require effort in order to sustain and grow them.
Yet what about the times when they don’t work, despite what you believe to be your best efforts?
It can be tempting to resort to blame, and tell yourself that the other person simply wouldn’t compromise. Even worse, some of us may blame ourselves, thinking that somehow we should have been able to make things work.
All relationships are two-way, and no human being is perfect. The breakdown of a relationship is as good of a time for self-reflection as any, yet before you blame anyone, consider that some relationships simply aren’t meant to work, because they lack one or more of the following three critical factors:
1. Shared Vision
We are all moving, all the time. We may be moving toward an outcome that we desire, or perhaps moving away from an outcome that we fear. Either way, we are moving.
In determining where we are going in our lives and why, we must have a vision of what the future looks like. It is this vision that allows us to get into action.
For example, I have a vision of being a person who writes every day, authors books, and travels to speak or teach about the concepts in the writing. This vision is what propels me toward that future, and gives me the energy to do the things today that will get me where I desire to be tomorrow.
What if I decided to partner with someone whose own vision was operating a family farm? Would that pose a challenge? Possibly. I suppose if their vision could include leveraging the farm work so that I was still able to write and speak, we might be able to work it out. There would many questions to consider, such as how far away the farm would be located from the nearest major airport.
Sometimes we get into relationship with people based upon where we are today, and yet if we don’t have these conversations about what tomorrow looks like, we can end up facing some painful realities in the future.
2. Shared Values
We cannot have successful partnerships without shared values.
This goes beyond the basic ones like integrity and respect. Hopefully ALL of the people we surround ourselves with value integrity and respect.
But what about other values?
What about values like growth and change? Sometimes it can be hard to value growth, such as when you’re satisfied with what you’ve got in the present moment. This is what happened to Kodak, when they hunkered down on their film business despite the emergence of digital photography.
Kodak leaders did not value growth and change, and those who did ended up overtaking them and putting them out of business.
Or what about the marriage where one spouse decides to change their health habits, and the other spouse does not embrace that value shift?
We don’t need to judge either side, yet it’s clear that things like what sort of food we eat, how we prioritize exercise, these are values that have a deep impact on those around us.
I have witnessed a lack of alignment on these matters lead to divorce. It happens.
3. Complementary Capabilities
Have you ever met someone who was so much like you in their character and skill-set that you almost kind of didn’t like them?
(Hopefully this isn’t just me, because that would be awkward.)
There are many successful business partnerships that I get to observe in the real estate and entrepreneurial world, and what I’ve discovered is that the two partners nearly always have different strength zones and skill sets.
Generally one is a driver-type personality, setting the vision and pushing the ball forward, and the other is an operator who organizes the business and brings the vision into reality.
Could you imagine a business (or a marriage) between two drivers?
Or two operators?
What on Earth would happen there?
Fortunately, many of us tend to naturally gravitate toward people who complement us. We can feel like magnets, automatically being repelled backward from those who have our same characteristics, and sticking to those who do not.
We must be careful and curious though, because not everyone’s strengths and capabilities are immediately obvious.
For example, we may get into business with someone who believes they are an operator, yet ultimately they’re unable to execute everything that needs to be done. Likewise we might have someone who behaves like a visionary driver, and yet until they are tested, we can’t know for sure whether they’ll have the power needed to move the ship in the direction of success.
Start curious, stay curious
All good partnerships require shared vision, shared values, and complementary capabilities. But how can we be sure that we’ve got all three?
The truth is that in the beginning of a relationship, we may not be sure. That’s why it’s important to slow down and be curious. There’s a saying in business: hire slow, fire fast. This could easily be applied to personal relationships (like marriage) as well.
It’s critical to take time on the front end and really investigate one another’s vision, values and capabilities. It’s a process of getting to know a person, and at the same time, getting to know ourselves. This is how we grow in relationship, and build strong partnerships.
If you are a business owner, especially in the real estate field, and you’re looking for a process to help you make sure that you’re getting into the right relationships that are going to move your business forward, reach out to me.
We have an outstanding set of courses, taught through Keller Williams University, on how to ensure that you are hiring right, training right, and leading your people to their highest potential.
I do not have any personal investment in these courses, yet I have taken them several times and they’ve been enlightening, not only for my business relationships but also for the personal ones.
How you grow yourself will impact how you grow your partnerships.