Get All Access for $5/mo

10 Characteristics of Unstoppable Partnerships Nothing does more to unlock our individual potential than working with devoted partners.

By Sherrie Campbell Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


The success of any business can be boiled down to its relationships. Working well with others and possessing the deep knowledge of what makes people tick is essential to creating and sustaining successful partnerships.

The secret to success is a deep understanding of human emotions and their subsequent behavioral outcomes. When you unlock this secret knowledge you can accurately predict the needs of those with whom you partner.

1. Supportive.

For a partnership to be successful each member needs to feel a sense of support and optimism about the collaboration. When partnerships are supportive they are infused with hope. What sustains motivation is the belief that with partnership things can only get better.

When people feel supported in a partnership they become inspired to more clearly visualize the process of achieving the goal. Therefore, it is essential the partnership be grounded in an unwavering belief in the integrity of the goals and values of the desired purpose.

Related: 13 Tips to Create the Perfect Partnership

2. Rewarding.

Each member in a partnership must see the reward involved in coming together. In successful partnerships rewards are based solely on each partner's worth and significance to the bigger picture.

There is nothing that more deeply inspires continued motivation than to make another person shine in their own importance and contribution.

3. Cohesion.

Trust is a basic need for a successful partnership. All partners need to know the relationship is collaborative, loyal and solid. If the partnership is in need of support or guidance, the partners trust they can come together in a way where needs and concerns can be met and realized.

Elite partnerships are made up of people who view each other as necessary equals and show mutual respect for each other's differences. They find ways to focus on solutions, not problems and are committed to open communication to keep things together.

4. Open.

Successful partnerships require partners who are consistently attuned to what is happening within and outside of the relationship, and the possible impacts on the partnership. All members pay attention with an open mind. They set aside preconceived notions about the other partners and see each person for who they are and for what they bring to the relationship. Great partnerships enjoy the element of being surprised by the other members' and their achievements.

Solid partnership's respect that constant intervention will block their process and slow progress towards their goals. A certain amount of openness and personal freedom is what makes these teams rise to the top in business. These partnerships aren't locked into things being fixed in any certain way.

5. Protective.

Partnerships thrive when members feel protected within the partnership.The partners feel reassured they are in an environment that will not let them fail. Each member is aware that any threat to the security of their partnership undermines progress. Insecurity must be addressed openely so the proper changes can be put into place. The solutions made must be handled via discussion between partners and must serve to benefit all members.

However, a mature partnership does not try to protect people from themselves. The growth of any partnership has to come from each partner learning through experience what works and what doesn't, in light of the overall climate of the partnership. This type of freedom allows each person to grow within a safe environment, mistakes and all.

Related: How to Rekindle The Flame...With Your Business Partner

6. Challenge.

Successful partnerships promote competition and reward achievement. Partnerships that are competitive crave more challenge. Competition brings an element of fun and comradery into the relationship.

This competitive climate creates the desire in each member to keep proving themselves and their significance. As the partnership thrives through up's and downs it becomes stronger. Like a palm tree, the more a partnership is forced to bend and flex the stronger it becomes from within. Partnerships that thrive can weather every storm and come out more successful.

7. Catalyst.

Exceptional partnerships act as a catalyst for each member to grow and succeed. It provides the space for each member to generate their own innovative ideas. Whenever a partnership suppresses the creative energy of its members and is rigid, it kills the spirit of innovation. This is why it is said that rigid structures collapse first. Wherever creativity flourishes there must flexibility.

Each partner must adapt to work in any setting without complaint. Each must be flexible and yielding, knowing that all interventions to the partnership must come from a place of clarity creating harmony between partners.This is the type of environment that supports innovation, invention and success.

8. Morale.

It is essential for each partner to be completely in touch with the emotional state of the other partners, and always seek to raise it. Exceptional collaborations create an environment of positive morale. Each contributing person must be open and honest with all others regarding behaviors that aren't working for the group, including their own, if it is bringing down the morale of the partnership.

Each partner is wise to pay attention to the silence and empty spaces in the relationship because it is there the tone of the partnership is most clearly revealed. No collaborative effort can tolerate endless drama that clouds clear thinking and thwarts forward moving progress. Successful partnerships allow time for each member to engage in silent reflection, as each partner can see more clearly what is essential for themselves and others.

Related: The Two Biggest Money Problems That Can Ruin a Business Partnership

9. Cleanse.

A great partnership understands it only takes one toxic person to destroy the entire relationship. With forethought, good judgment and quick decision making, effective collaborators weed out the weak links.

A partnership cannot be successful when the behavior, manipulation and poor attitude of one person continues to impede progress.

10. Service.

Successful partnerships are based in service, not selfishness. No one person does all the work, nor is any one member seeking more recognition than the others. The collaborative effort comes directly from the efforts of each individual partner contributing to the whole. Being in the mind of service, in the helping of others, keeps the partnership humble.

Each member keeps a watchful eye in sustaining a healthy and openminded feedback loop. There is no coercive pushing for things to happen. Each partner allows the process of growth and innovation to unfold on its own rather than having any one member lecture and direct all others.

In successful partnerships, there is an unceasing commitment to equality, diversity and flexibility. Each member leads by example, has a sense of personal freedom and an undying commitment to the goals at hand. Collaboration is built upon open and honest communication, direct and consistent interaction and the personal time to think things through. Each person understands their role in the relationship dynamic and what each must do to be successful. Each member is fully supported and encouraged by the partnership to fulfill all of their individual and collective gaols. In this way a successful partnership is made up of strong individuals being supported in a collaborative and collective relationship dynamic where all are striving towards shared success.

Related: 7 Strategies to Help You Pick, Then Develop, the Perfect Partner

Sherrie Campbell

Psychologist, Author, Speaker

Sherrie Campbell is a psychologist in Yorba Linda, Calif., with two decades of clinical training and experience in providing counseling and psychotherapy services. She is the author of Loving Yourself: The Mastery of Being Your Own Person. Her new book, Success Equations: A Path to an Emotionally Wealthy Life, is available for pre-order.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


How to Close the Trust Gap Between You and Your Team — 5 Strategies for Leaders

Trust is tanking in your workplace. Here's how to fix it and become the boss your team needs to succeed.


6 Cost-Effective Ways to Acquire Brand Ambassadors

Boost your brand's visibility and credibility with budget-friendly strategies for acquiring brand ambassadors.

Health & Wellness

Get a Year of Unlimited Yoga Class Downloads for Only $23 Through June 17

Regular exercise has been proven to increase energy and focus, both of which are valuable to entrepreneurs and well-known benefits of yoga.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Side Hustle

'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Kayla Valerio, owner of vivid hair salon Haus of Color, transformed her passion into a lucrative venture.

Business Culture

Why Remote Work Policies Are Good For the Environment

Remote work policies are crucial for ESG guidelines. Embracing remote work can positively impact your business and employees.