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Combine Your Differences

It’s quite common for life partners who work in business together to struggle with conflict because they have different personalities, talents, and ways of analyzing the needs of the business. A partner with an MBA, for example, might see the business challenges through the lens of management systems. Meanwhile, if the other partner has a background in marketing, he or she would interpret the same challenges in a different way. Add to those differences the unique temperaments of each partner and you have a good recipe for conflict!

It is human nature to expect everyone to think the way we do. Our own biases and perspectives and methods seem to be absolutely right in our own eyes. It’s hard for us to imagine that anyone might have different perceptions. As a result, if we are not careful, we could place unreasonable demands on our life partners, expecting them to operate exactly as we would.

This approach to life and work will not only generate conflict, it will also hurt the quality of the business. Why? When one person forces the other partner into a mold, the partner that’s forced to conform will not be able to contribute fully their unique talents, ideas and perspectives to the business.

Think of it this way. Imagine if a Jazz band leader decided that everyone in the band should only play the same exact notes that he plays. The result would be terrible—cutting out all the complexity of the music and the individual personalities of the other musicians. The music would be boring and monotonous. The same thing can happen in a business if each partner fails to give the other freedom to make their full and unique contribution.

For this reason, life partners need to see their differences not as a cause for conflict, but as a treasure. The distinct traits and talents of each person should be valued and fostered. Each person’s unique contribution should be recognized, understood, and then channeled toward the goals and mission of the business.

Are you and your life partner struggling with conflict? Here are a few ideas for helping you combine your individual talents and perspectives into a powerful focus, one that can bring great benefits to your company.

  • Communicate: The first step is to stop and listen to each other. Each person should have the freedom to share their perspectives, ideas, passions, and desires. Good communication happens when people value each other, so don’t allow judgment or criticism to dominate the conversations. Write it all down.
  • Combine: Once you have a thorough understanding of each other and each person’s talents and personality, think together about how you might best apply your unique traits to best meet the demands of the business. Look at the immediate needs and future goals of the business and combine your individual resources to accomplish those goals.
  • Consider: Give yourself some time to fully apply these changes and then take some time to consider the impact these changes have had on the business. We all grow, learn, and change, so it’s important to evaluate how your individual contributions are working and adjust your efforts as needed.

The main point to remember in all of this is that each life partner must be valued for who they are, and each must be respected and encouraged—even when there is failure. By helping each other grow, and by combining each partner’s unique qualities, your relationship and your business will flourish.

Louise Woodbury

Republication of Invisible Partnership articles are permitted, given the original link and author are referenced. High resolution photos can be provided upon request.

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