Article Date: 5/1/2010

Finding the Perfect Partner
staffing solutions

Finding the Perfect Partner

A new book reveals the secrets of a successful partnership.

BY BOB LEVOY, O.D.

What are crucial dimensions of a successful partnership? According to the book, Power of 2: How To Make The Most of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life (Gallup Press, 2009), the best results occur when your strengths cancel out your partner's weaknesses, and vice versa. You accomplish together what could not be done separately, say authors Rodd Wagner, principal of the Gallup Organization and Gale Muller, Ph.D., vice chairman and general manager of the Gallup World Poll.

The characteristics that make a successful partnership of optometrists for example, could be anything from expertise in one of the specialties (e.g. sports vision, orthokeratology, low vision); personal reputation (among primary care practitioners or allergists, for example) or specialized knowledge (such as language fluency or on the newest technology). You should be able to name these qualities without hesitation. For example: Fill in the blanks: “I bring___to the partnership; my partner (associate) adds___.”

A successful partnership can also rely on differences in how you think or act: One sees the potential; the other, the risks. One generates ideas; the other produces them. One is good with technology; the other is a people person.

Beware of the polymath myth

The book's authors warn of the polymath myth, which is the belief that with enough determination and perseverance, anyone alone can accomplish anything (e.g. Napoleon Hill's famous quote “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”) Few ideas so widely accepted are so demonstrably wrong, say the authors. Everyone has weaknesses that create obstacles. Yet while individuals aren't well rounded, pairs can be.

Other successful components

The Gallup researchers found other components of a successful partnership. Examples include:

A common mission: When a partnership fails, Wagner and Muller find the root cause is often the pursuit of separate agendas. When partners want the same thing badly enough, they make the personal sacrifices necessary to see it through.
Fairness. Because the need for fairness runs deep, it's an essential quality of a strong partnership.
Trust: Working with someone means taking risks. You're not likely to contribute your best work unless you trust your partner to do the same.
Acceptance: When two disparate personalities come together, it can be a recipe for conflict, say the authors, unless both learn to accept each other's idiosyncrasies.
Forgiveness: People make mistakes. Without forgiveness, the partnership will dissolve.
Communicating: In a partnership's early stages, communication helps prevent misunderstandings. Later, a continuous flow of information makes work more efficient, as the two people are synchronized.
Unselfishness. In the best working relationships, say Wagner and Muller, the natural concern for your own welfare transforms into gratification in seeing your partner (or associate) succeed. Those who have reached this level say such collaborations become among the most fulfilling of their lives.

Partnerships that embody these traits produce a result greater than the sums of their individual efforts. In other words, 2 + 2 = 5. OM


BOB LEVOY'S NEWEST BOOK “222 SECRETS OF HIRING, MANAGING AND RETAINING GREAT EMPLOYEES IN HEALTHCARE PRACTICES” WAS PUBLISHED BY JONES & BARTLETT PUBLISHERS. YOU CAN REACH HIM BY E-MAIL AT B.LEVOY@VERIZON.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: May 2010