My Partner’s Not Doing Enough Work!

By Nina Kaufman, Esq.

I’m about to give my teleseminar, “Help! My Partner’s Driving Me Crazy!: Building and Maintaining Effective Business Partnerships” . . . and came across “My Partner’s Not Doing Enough Work!” — which is certainly a factor that could drive you crazy!

Written by a self-confessed INTJ (haul out your Myers-Briggs personality grid to refresh your memory!), it rightly points out that sitting around stewing is the fastest path to partnership destruction.  But aside from the sensible “hey, take a deep breath and look at the big picture” advice given, there are some practical steps that you can take:

  • Make a list of what each of you does and the approximate amounts of time you spend doing it.  Who knows, maybe there really is an imbalance; but you won’t know until you set it out dispassionately, in black and white.
  • Look at your lists.  Of the items on yours, how many of the tasks/responsibilities on it do you enjoy?  Maybe the resentment is stemming from the fact that you’re stuck with boring administration and your partner gets to go to all of the wine-tasting events.  See if you can share the “ick” and “fun” tasks more evenly.
  • Consider outsourcing.  Let’s say one partner has the lion’s share of the financial and bookkeeping responsibilities which are time-consuming . . . and the other partner would really not be suited for the task.  Delegating to a third party (whether employee or vendor) could take the load off the one, while not jeopardizing the company by placing it on the shoulders of the other.
  • If, after all this, there really is an imbalance that is not getting resolved, a partnership consultant might be able to mediate between (or among) the partners.  As with marriages and other personal relationships, sometimes we just don’t hear the message we need to hear from those closest to us — it takes an outsider, with a fresh perspective and objective eye, to shake us awake.

If none of those suggestions work, then yes, it may be time to discuss cutting your losses.  Partners are great, but only as long as they are pulling their own weight.  If not, their lack of productivity could be hampering your business growth to a degree that outweighs their benefit.

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