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A good partnership is 60/60

February 25, 2013

On a recent flight home, there was a conversation behind me reminding me of a very important lesson I learned from my Grandmother one morning at breakfast.

Background regarding my Grandparents. Grandma grew up in south Texas, and was diligent in keeping a journal from the time she was a little girl. She received her teaching degree from the University of Texas and valued education. More importantly than that, she valued the use of the education one received. She met Grandpa, an heir to a sodbuster’s fortune in Kansas, an earthen hut. Grandpa received his degree in engineering from the University of Kansas. He paid for that education by pulling weeds, raking and any other odd jobs he could find during the Depression. When they met, Grandpa was smitten. He asked her to marry. She replied yes, and stated her plans were to travel and see the world. She recommended he be on board with that agenda. While working for Phillips 66, they lived around the world, visited every continent, and swam in every ocean and sea. They maintained a vast library of slide carousels of every trip. They shared the same passions; travel, culture, ornithology, classical music, education, the arts, dinner with friends and the art of conversation.

One year while visiting them in the summer, they celebrated their 50th anniversary. For an adolescent the golden anniversary seemed like an eternity. I asked Grandma while having breakfast alone with her how they were able to have such a long lasting and successful relationship. She set down her cereal spoon clumsily (she suffered from Parkinson’s disease), looked at me and said, “Most people will say a good partnership is 50/50. I say it’s 60/60.” I asked what do you mean? She replied, “Your Grandpa and I were each willing to go further than half way.”

Today, I enjoy the same quality of friendship, love and shared passion with my Bride. And when thinking of those words from Grandma, I realize we were committed to the same willingness. We will celebrate our Silver Anniversary this year.

How does this relate to a management consultant’s blog? I am often asked what is the key ingredient to successful business relationships. Sometimes it’s difficult to answer that without some sense of sadness, as my grandparents are no longer here.  But the lessons I learned from them are.

Whether in personal or business matters, are you or are the other stakeholders willing to go 60/60?

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From → business, Strategy

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