When we get it right we extend our reach, amplify our impact, and push the boundaries of the possible. Sadly, we mess it up far more frequently. Partnership is meant to unlock synergies and expand our perspectives. This requires interdependence.

Success rates increase when we honour a few fundamental principles:

  • Mutuality. Both parties derive benefit. Both parties have responsibility and contribution. When only one party benefits it’s called abuse. When only one party works it’s called charity.
  • Capacity to choose. We maintain the integrity of the relationship when both parties to choose to be in the partnership. When one party is backed into a corner we call it ‘hostile’. When one party no longer wants to be involved but cannot get out we call it ‘blackmail’.
  • Synergy value. The collective must be greater than the sum of the individual parts. If we do not unlock or create additional value the partnership serves no purpose.

If our relationship does not uphold these design principles we are most likely not in a partnership. At least not a healthy one.

It’s worthwhile to discuss and agree on these principles in advance. If we are unable to secure agreement in ‘principle’, the end result will most likely be a quotient rather than a product.

Antoine Dautry

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