Business partners save their organization and relationship by defining roles and styles

Written on:November 1, 2012

How To Save a Business Partnership Through Role Clarity and Effective Communication.



“Maya,” and her new business partner “Julia” formed a Southern California start-up together to bring a new IT tool to market. Both had worked in the same type of business, shared similar backgrounds and skills, but took on different managerial roles in their new business venture.

Their new business started on a rocky foundation, and was in danger of failing if they did not learn to communicate and work together better.

Maya contacted me for support in this situation.



In several coaching meetings spread over several months, we looked at how Maya and Julia could define individual roles and responsibilities and keep them separate. We focused on each individual’s strengths and styles, and created a structure for communicating successfully.

For example, I introduced Maya to effective ways to handle differing opinions. She had a tendency to keep an issue inside and let it percolate into something bigger, so I also gave her techniques to become more comfortable discussing differences up-front. I also taught her strategies to relax her mind, which helped prepare her to handle stressful conversations better.



The firm opened with the two partners plus nine additional employees. Five years later, they have more than 52 employees, and the organization continues to grow about 35% every year.

Maya told me she learned to better understand her partner’s work style and improve her trust in her skills, which allowed her to let things go more often. This freed her conscience, caused less confrontation, and provided a significant reduction in stress and conflict for both of them.

Both felt our consulting meetings effectively saved their long-term partnership. Maya added if we hadn’t all worked together to make the improvements we did, she’s not sure the firm would even still exist today.


What are your skills to work effectively with your business partner? If you have questions, contact us.



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