Have you ever said to yourself, “I should have listened to my gut?” At those times, when you look back on a decision and with hindsight, you can clearly see the red flags that were there all along. It is a curiosity of the human psyche and a testament to the power of our thoughts, that we can “be blind” to that which is right in front of us.
Unfortunately, this is a sentiment I hear all too often when working with business partnerships in conflict. Signs of future problems are usually evident yet ignored, in the very beginning. In my work with these troubled partnerships, I’ve discovered two very common reasons for this phenomenon.
The first is one or both partners are so focused on the idea of partnering and their utopian concept of what a partnership is, they cannot see clearly. Their vision is too clouded therefore they only see what they imagine the partnership could be.
The second reason I often come across is the partners are actually too vested in wanting each other as a business partner and they refuse to look beyond the surface. In these cases, the partners actually do see the red flags and choose to ignore them, thinking “that will change once we become partners” or “I can live with that, since no one is perfect”. These business partners are busy rationalizing to themselves in order to justify a pre-determined outcome.
Regardless the reason, the consequences can be devastating. Lifelong friendships have ended, bank accounts emptied and businesses have failed, all because the business partners did not take the time in the beginning to cast an objective eye toward their own motivations and their potential partner. Selecting a business partner can be even more important than selecting the type of business to pursue.
Keep your mind open, your eyesight clear and tune into your gut when selecting a business partner.
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