Ancient Chinese Secret for Successful Partnerships

I went to my favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch the other day.  As the usual, the meal ended with our fortune cookies.  To me, fortune cookies are like horoscopes; you forget the hundreds of times they’re wrong when you get one that seems to fit. This time, my fortune read, “No man will work for your interests unless they are his.”

I guess this fortune resonated with me because I think a lot about partnerships, what makes them succeed and what makes them fail.  That pithy little fortune summed up the reason why partnerships succeed or fail in just eleven words.  Call it win-win, or whatever you want, but you won’t find success in your partnership unless everyone gets what they need from the relationship.  Finding the win-win in a partnership though is more than just making money.  Companies get involved in partnerships for a variety of reasons.  According to Jay Abraham, one of the gurus of joint ventures and partnerships, companies enter into a partnerships to ”expand and enhance your ability to penetrate new markets, generate add-on business, access other peoples’ capital, goodwill, distribution channels, image, posture . . .”.

To increase the chances of your partnership success, determine what your objectives are, but also make sure you know what your partner’s objectives are.  You can’t align your interests with your partners unless you know what they are.

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