Sometimes We Need a Partner

One method of managing a liability is to partner with someone who has an asset that complements the liability.  In order for this to happen, we first must be aware of our liability and feel the tension that this creates for us. We also need to be clear on a potential partner’s asset and how the partnership will work.  I offered an example of partnering in a previous blog on leveraging assets and managing liabilities. In this blog, I decided to use a personal example of how I partnered to increase my productivity as a writer.

When I reflect on my past, I can recall situations where I could have been more productive if I had partnered with individuals whose assets complemented my liabilities. As a researcher, I was fairly strong at designing studies and collecting data.  I was also good at analyzing data.  What I did not like was integrating my research into a larger body of knowledge and writing up the final report. It wasn’t that I couldn’t do it; I just didn’t like doing it. To me, the fun of research was finding answers, not communicating them to others. So, I had a lot of unfinished studies that never got published.  How much more could I have produced if I had partnered with a scholar whose assets were literature reviews and writing up manuscripts?  I can only speculate, but I would bet my production would have increased dramatically. 

Years later, I had the opportunity to work with another writer on family businesses. I had been working on a project to enhance communication between family business owners and the next generation of family members.  The writer I partnered with showed an interest in this topic, and we decided to work together.  My contribution reflected my assets of creating the concepts and designing the article.  I had a fairly good knowledge of the literature, so this was not a liability.  What surprised me was how my coauthor took my work and quickly added his piece.  The time it took to finalize the article was weeks, not months.  His assets of finishing and preparing the article for publication were evident not only in sending it to an editor but in following up to get continual feedback about where the article was in the review process.  That year, we published three articles in different journals and publication media.  It was a highly productive partnership.

It is not easy to coach oneself. In this case, self-reflection helped me to understand a liability and why I had not completed past projects. It also helped me to choose a partner who complemented my liability with his assets.  I may have benefited more from this partnership than he did, but I am fairly certain that these articles would never have been written if we had not collaborated. 

I urge my readers to seek out partners who can complement your liabilities. By working together, you are likely to produce more and better results.


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