It is one of the most typical reasons why a venture fails: disagreements between partners.
I’ve seen it soooo many times.
At the beginning everyone is perfectly aligned.
Excitement comes first.
But with time, working side by side, accumulated successes and failures, disagreements arise.
One partner has one vision for the project while the other has another.
One believes they should adopt one strategy and the other has a different one.
One needs to monetise now and the other believes they should wait until they are further into the market.
And, for whatever reason, the positions are not compatible.
And arguments ensue.
And the project is blocked.
Disagreements are normal and healthy in any team.
They are healthy until they adopt a “numantine” stance.
I have seen it soooo many times.
But now there is a big difference.
What happens is that I am now one of those who argue.
I entered into a project that seemed interesting to me.
We signed a partnership agreement.
I have invested a lot of time in taking the project forward.
But now I don’t see clearly the strategy that is being followed.
Obviously I believe, What do I say I believe?, I am absolutely convinced, that I am totally right.
Of course I am!
But deep down I know that I am not being very objective in my assessments.
Because my current decisions are influenced by decisions I have taken in the past.
Because, whether I am right or wrong, if the project does not go ahead as I hope it will mean that I was wrong to bet on it.
It will mean that I will have wasted a lot of hours of work in bringing it to fruition.
And that, whether I like it or not, conditions my response.
I try to defend my position and convince (others and myself) with all my “rational” arguments.
But when this is not enough, I go so far as to pose the dilemma: either things are done my way or I don’t go on.
I say: a very non-objective approach.
It is difficult to distinguish whether these are judgements born of experience or simply stubbornness and childishness.
What is the solution?
What would you recommend to a client in such a situation?
Well, I must necessarily go back to being a professional. I must be impartial.
By the way...
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Anyway.... let's get on with the story.
But am I able to separate the “rational” from the “emotional”?
Who is right in this situation?
I would like to think that I am.
But the truth is that it is absolutely irrelevant.
I repeat: who is right is absolutely irrelevant.
What is really important is the project.
And one of the most critical elements of any project is the team involved in it.
The question is: Knowing what I know now, would I join the project? Would I invest in it?
In a long-term relationship, trust and the sharing of views and expectations is vital.
When disagreements begin, it is likely that, even if temporarily resolved, they will recur in the future.
A disagreement can be a very healthy thing… if it is resolved in a positive way for the project.
But lack of trust is not.
So writing this post is a form of therapy.
It allows me to distance myself from my involvement in this project.
And to approach the situation as a more professional decision. And less stubborn.
Does this mean that I have made a decision about the project?
No. Not yet. But it does allow me to better evaluate the important aspects.
If I decide to continue, it will be because I believe that the project, objectively speaking, still has good potential. Regardless of the strategy that the team decides on.
If I am not convinced that the project and the team have good potential then it is better for everyone to abandon the idea. At least for me to do so. Because this would restore order in the team.
If I believe it does then it is best to negotiate or seek agreement on the best strategy to take it forward. Whether or not it is the one I can propose.
What about you?
Can you separate the rational from the emotional part in your professional decisions?
Maybe writing down your thoughts will help you clarify them. Or talking to a third party. Even if the other person just listens and doesn’t say anything at all.
These are perfect ways to put your thoughts in order. And very necessary.