What Makes a
Great Partner?
his way to the front of the room to congratulate
Heather on her presentation on partnership fun-
damentals: “You have the makings of a powerful
book in that speech—and you should call it Dance
Lessons.” “Yes, we do,” she said, “and we will!
Complying with Heather’s Partnership Funda -
mental #12—“Skip coffee or a drink and go for
food!”—they went to dinner to explore writing a
book together. Over the next few weeks, the
process of forming and nurturing their book-
writing partnership crystallized the wisdom and
warnings they wanted to share with their readers.
Twelve months later, the book you’re holding was
ready to go to press, and now the author-partners
appreciate even more how important it is to a
great partnership to choose a great partner.
Heather on Chip
My company is named Inspiritrix. The word is derived
from a Latin word that means “one who inspires
another” or “dream carrier.” Chip is a dream carrier.
He pushes, pulls, and promotes me to live my dreams.
He’s also there when I need a friend, a good laugh, or
even an ear to help sort out life’s lessons. An extraordi-
narily talented teacher, he always treats me with the
utmost respect, acknowledging my value both to him
and to our partnership.
Chip on Heather
Heather is pure creativity. She looks at the world in a
refreshing way, describing it with passion and enthusiasm.
Her boundless energy and infectious brilliance fuel me to
reach for greater heights. She has amazing instincts and
can be bold in presenting them. When we met to work
on the book, her ideas came out so fast we only captured
some of them. We’ll need to write a sequel!
Great Partners
Fill Gaps
how me the money!” was
surely the most memorable line in the box-office hit film Jerry
McGuire, but the second most memorable was the one Jerry
uttered to his wife as he sought to reconcile with her: “You
complete me.” Or, as Stallone’s title character in Rocky says
about his girlfriend to her brother, who thinks she’s homely:
“I have gaps and she has gaps. We fill in each other’s gaps.”
Great partnerships exhibit this kind of completion. Each
partner brings to the relationship capabilities and capacities the
other partner lacks: resources, competencies, co-op buying
opportunities, technologies, access. Thus, great partners seek
partners who are their superiors in some ways. Rather than
beginnings are all about
finding someone you can
be yourself with.
—Geoff Bellman,
author of
Your Signature Path
cele brating their own remarkable talents in glorious isolation,
they choose to associate with others who surpass them in some
of the capabilities and resources they must have to achieve their
collective mission. They know that synergy is created by the
partnership rather than the individual partners.
“Partnership success is all about compatibility,” says Bob
Ellis, managing editor of the Daily American in West Frankfort,
Illinois. “If you’re compatible, it’s even possible to partner with
someone you might not particularly like.” Compatibility is
characterized by John Campbell, president of real estate man-
agement giant Brookfield Management Services, in this way: “If
[partnerships] work, it should be hard to tell where one partner
stops and the other begins. And it’s more than being ‘joined at
the hip.’ It’s about congruent values, common goals, and com-
plimentary approaches.”
Great Partners Are
Ready for Passion
Great partners are drawn to
ecstasy. They are ready for passion, capable of being swept
away—not gullibly, but in a purposeful openness to wonder-
ment. They are primed to be enamored by the possible, trea-
suring the process as much as the outcome. And though they
enjoy harmony, they take more pleasure in the energy of the
encounter. As one senior manager said of his relationship with
his counterpart in a supplier company, “Our partnership is
sometimes easygoing and sometimes feisty, but it’s always vig-
orous. I don’t think I’d want a relationship that wasn’t pretty
much wide awake all the time.”
“I’m on a mission in life to make a difference for women
and people of color,” says Eunice Azzani of New York–based
executive search firm Korn/Ferry International. “I call myself a
head farmer instead of a headhunter. I think if you really make
Passionate partners
are more likely to suc-
ceed. They don’t get com-
placent, they don’t take
you for granted, and they
benefit all those around
—Javier Cano,
Marriott Marina Beach

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