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Partnership Savvy: Seven Secrets for a Productive & Profitable Partnership

16 August 2011 No Comment

Partnership Savvy: Seven Secrets for a Productive & Profitable Partnership
By: Christina Haxton, MA, LMFT and Mary Ayers, MA, LMFT

Partnerships exist at many levels: Personal (a marriage) and professional (a business) and sometimes these two occur together (a family business), and “official” (a legally recognized LLC, LLP) and “unofficial” (a handshake, an understanding, a contract to provide services).

In this series of articles, we will define partnership to be when two or more people, businesses or organizations join together to accomplish a professional or business-related goal, specifically in the horse industry. Here are some examples of the partnerships we will talk about:

Facility Owner/Trainer
Stallion Syndication
Investors in a show or racing prospect
Professional Horse person/Saddle or Tack Manufacturer/Trailer, Equipment or Barn Manufacturer
Groups and Associations/Members
Two or more businesses, groups or associations collaborating to sponsor a show or event
Professional Horse person and Publisher or Publication
And more!

All of these partnerships exist to accomplish goals, such as: financial success, professional recognition, or personal success and satisfaction as a result of the partnership.

Easier said than done, right? Right. If I asked you to think of the number of successful partnerships you know of, and the number of troubled or failed partnerships you know of, which number is bigger? How many people do you know of who are working with a trainer for a while, then sooner or later, begin to complain that they aren’t getting enough from the trainer? Or their horse isn’t being ridden or shown enough? Then they move on to the next trainer and the next and the next? Or how about the trainer who is working out of a facility and after a while the facility owner begins to want to call the shots and tell the trainer how to do his or her job? So the trainer moves to the next facility, or starts his or her own business. What about the association, chapter or club whose membership is low or worse, dwindling into non-existence? Or investors in a stallion syndication who can’t agree on where, when and whoshould show their prospect for the best exposure? There are many more examples. You may have been or are currently in a struggling or failing partnership. You may be considering a future partnership. Keep reading.

This series of articles will describe what we call Partnership Savvy. The secret to a successful partnership is when partners use these relational skills in their business relationship. These Relational Skills are NECESSARY for a Productive & Profitable Partnership. Good news and bad news: Can they be learned? YES! Is EVERYONE motivated to learn and apply them in their partnership? Unfortunately, not. Some people just keep hoping things will change and move on from one failed partnership to the next. The question is, do YOU want to change? If you are not ready, that’s okay. Stop reading. Now. If you are curious, keep reading. If you are ready to know the secrets to find and maintain a successful partnership, keep reading. How many of these seven factors does your partnership have? To what degree? How would your partner answer?

These 7 factors are the Relational Skills of Partnership Savvy:

A clear purpose for the partnership
Expectations are “on the table” and expressed openly.
A mutual vision or goal
A clear goal between partners serves to pull them through difficult times.
Clarity about beliefs, values, and motivation
Knowing your own and your partners’, as well as what you each dislike or will avoid doing.
The ability to appreciate their differences
Valuing the different strengths and expertise each brings to the partnership, knowing your role in the partnership.
The ability to communicate all of the above
Since people, groups and organizations are constantly changing, getting new information, learning and going through stages of development, #1-4 above also need to be re-evaluated and redefined on an ongoing basis.
Flexibility (vs. Rigidity)
When expectations and situations change, partners need to recognize this is a normal occurrence and redefine their partnership to reflect them.
Trust exists when each has the partnership or the other partner’s best interest in mind when making independent decisions. This means making decisions that are “us-serving” vs. “self-serving” and is called mutuality. Trust exists also when partners can see they both have the same level of commitment of time, energy, integrity, honesty, and dependability to the partnership.

If you answered:

6-7 Excellent! Keep doing what your are doing!
4-5 Good … you are on the right track, but the partnership may need some work to keep it going.
3 or less Poor. A recipe for becoming a statistic, being unsatisfied and failing to achieve your goals in this partnership. Also, you are likely to find other partnerships that are equally unsatisfying and unsuccessful unless you change what you are doing, and learn more effective relational skills.

About the authors:
Christina Haxton, MA, and Mary Ayers, MA, are co-owners of aha! Ayers, Haxton & Associates, LLC. Since 1993, they worked with businesses and organizations to created successful partnerships. They offer Executive, Corporate and Personal Coaching, Speaking and Workshops helping people learn the skills they need to build better business relationships.

Christina has been involved in various aspects of the horse industry for the past 20 years, including breeding and training operations, as well as raising and training her own horses. In the past year, she has become involved in reining and has been showing in NRHA events. Mary has recently become involved with horses, and has been riding in various clinics as well as on a recreational level.

Receive a free 30 minute consultation to find out how you can achieve results by calling 303.816.0294, or emailing aha@ddmi.he.net. You can find more articles and helpful information at www.partnershipsavvy.com.

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