3 Reasons to Partner Vs. Going Alone

We know of many great partnerships: HP inventors, William Hewlett and David Packard; the great dancing duo Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire; musical theater geniuses Rogers and Hammerstein; and crime fighting/do-gooders Lone Ranger and Tonto!

jf and jtI’m a huge fan of both Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, so imagine my excitement when I heard they would be pairing up again for Saturday Night Live this past weekend!

While they are both great performers individually, there is something magical that happens when they pair up! What’s that about?

I’ll tell you what it’s about … it’s about finding that chemistry where two people discover how to build on one another’s idea to create something better, leverage one another’s strengths and fill in gaps where the other one is not as strong.

I’m fortunate enough to have found several key partnerships in my work and personal life. However, one stands out for me when I reflect on my career. Patti Johnson, PeopleResults CEO and founder, was my first boss in my first “real job” after college a LONG time ago and we still have a wonderful partnership that I treasure.

If you think that making a name for yourself in your career is through great INDIVIDUAL work, let me make the case for why collaboration and great partnerships are the more rewarding path to go:

  1. “Two heads are better than one” – we all have good ideas now and again, but EVERY time I share an idea with someone I’m partnering with, we come up with something better. Having at least one other person’s perspective adds so much more to build on an idea and enhance it. Great partnerships feed off one another and the energy and effort just comes more naturally.
  2. “I’ve got you covered” – we also all have strengths and weaknesses. When you partner with the right person who can balance you, (i.e. cover for your weaknesses), together we deliver something better or deliver it in a better way. It’s also helpful in the case where you may need to be in two place at once. When you have a trusted partner who can cover for you in meetings or face-time with a client, it allows you to get more accomplished. And remember, it’s key to have a detailed debrief after the meeting so that it’s seamless from a client perspective.
  3. “This kind of work is FUN!” – I’m a big proponent of making work more FUN and feel less like work! When you partner with someone, chances are higher that high-energy banter and laughter will be coming from your work area. (If that’s happening when you’re working solo, people just begin to think you’re going crazy … talking to yourself and laughing at your own jokes.) Going back to my favorite Fallon-Timberlake pairing, they always look like they are having a BLAST together. I’ve had many experiences working with Patti where we accomplished great work and had a great time doing it – what a bonus!

If you’ve yet to find a good partnership at work, seek out those who you enjoy being around yet challenge you to think differently. Oh – and by the way, YOU need to be a good partner too:

  • Don’t squash other’s ideas – build on them
  • Be a good listener
  • Be flexible and open-minded
  • Lose the phrase, “We’ve always done it this way”
  • Ask, “Why not?” more than “Why?”

Remember – it’s about the journey, not the destination, so why not make the journey as rewarding as possible by collaborating WITH others and forming great partnerships!

Image Credit

Martha Duesterhoft is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on Twitter @mduesterhoft or connect via email at mduesterhoft@www.people-results.com