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How do you deal with buisness partners who have a different vision for the future of your business?

Elinor Robin answered September 17, 2007
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/answer/221132
A shared vision is a critical component of a successful partnership.  Vision is what guides where a business is going and how it will get there; it is the plan and the path for the future.  A shared vision allows partners to reconcile their goals and their methods for achieving those goals.  Without a shared vision partners usually find themselves pulling in different directions.

In order to reach a shared vision, four tasks must be completed -- creating or eliciting the initial vision, translating that vision into the necessary physical actions, articulating and selling the vision to others, and holding true to the essence of the vision when reality changes the plans.

Talk with your partners about their vision and your own.  Clarify where you are united and where you are opposed.  Basically, you have three options:

(1) Sometimes, it's possible to divide and redefine aspects of the business so that each of you can lead a segment of the business. 

(2) You may be able to reorganize or recreate how you operate so that one of you to has ultimate control and the other takes a back seat.   And, finally,

(3) sometimes it is best to have one person take the reins while another steps aside. 

If you are unable to hold this dialogue with your partner on your own, you may want to bring in a mediator who can help you as well as take you through a visioning process. Ultimately, the vision for your business should be incorporated into a "partnership accord" that provides you with a framework for your organization, clarification of your expectations,
and a definition of your roles.

Additionally, a well thought-out and well written "partnership accord" will lay out how you will work together and what measures you will take when your partnership encounters a struggle.
Elinor Robin, "The Relationship Mediator," has more than 18 years of experience in mediation while working within the public and private sectors.