Good Partnership Isn’t Selfish

imagesI was reading a tip sheet from our website on Unhealthy Partnerships and was thinking more about why it’s so hard for partnerships to be healthy and successful. It comes down to one thing: selfishness

Selfish is defined as:  “Lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”

Even Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company said: “It is rare to find a business partner who is selfless. If you are lucky, it happens once in a lifetime.”

The reality is that many of us believe that when we are selfish, we are happier! We focus on the things that serve us first, we prioritize things that we like to do and we only look at our needs and our desires. Of course those of us who have learned the value of serving know this isn’t true. Real happiness comes and lasts when you focus on others needs first and when you serve others.

Of course when one partner is focused on serving the other, this isn’t an ideal partnership either!

Daniel Rickett writes in his book “Building Strategic Relationships” (©2008 “The most enduring partnerships are complementary. A complementary partnership is the association of two or more autonomous bodies who, having formed a trusting relationship, share complementary gifts and abilities to fulfill a common goal. A complementary partnership, then, is a relationship of shared commitment and interdependency.”

Rickett is spot on in this description of what is a good partnership.

So, if you want to be LESS selfish, be sure to talk about these things the next time you connect with a partner organization:

1) Ask Questions

Take the time to ask questions and listen to the answers. Don’t be so focused on yourself. Learn about each other. Build your relationship. Build trust. This takes time.

2) Share Your Expectations

Sometimes we view this as being selfish, but it’s actually just good communication. Don’t assume anything. If this partnership is a “relationship of shared commitment and interdependency” (Rickett), then be sure to talk about that. What do you need and want from the partnership. But don’t end it here…

3) Share How You Can Help

Turn it around and clearly communicate ways things that you bring to the table as well. How can you serve, how can you help your partner to meet their goals and objectives? What can you give?

4)Value The Relationship

Sometimes partnership is simply being friends, caring what the other is doing, and encouraging each other. It doesn’t always have to be about what you can bring to the partnership. When you value the relationship and when you invest in that relationship, it will pay off! Sometimes partnership is simply reminding each other that they’re not alone.

Stop being so selfish and self-serving.

Learn to build healthy partnerships because it’s a good thing and the right thing.

Click HERE for more on partnerships

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