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The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix The One You're In)

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In The Partnership Charter, psychologist and business mediation expert David Gage offers a comprehensive guide to the art of establishing and maintaining a business partnership. The centerpiece of his approach is the Partnership Charter, a document that clearly outlines the goals, expectations, responsibilities, and relationships of the principals. The charter identifies p In The Partnership Charter, psychologist and business mediation expert David Gage offers a comprehensive guide to the art of establishing and maintaining a business partnership. The centerpiece of his approach is the Partnership Charter, a document that clearly outlines the goals, expectations, responsibilities, and relationships of the principals. The charter identifies potential sources of conflict and how they will be resolved, while addressing such sensitive issues as personal styles, values, money, and power. Illustrating every principle through engaging stories drawn from Gage's front-line experience consulting to business partners, as well as interviews with the founding partners of such successful businesses as Progressive Insurance Company and Manpower, Inc., The Partnership Charter dispels common myths and presents a practical framework for launching, building, and sustaining a thriving business partnership.


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In The Partnership Charter, psychologist and business mediation expert David Gage offers a comprehensive guide to the art of establishing and maintaining a business partnership. The centerpiece of his approach is the Partnership Charter, a document that clearly outlines the goals, expectations, responsibilities, and relationships of the principals. The charter identifies p In The Partnership Charter, psychologist and business mediation expert David Gage offers a comprehensive guide to the art of establishing and maintaining a business partnership. The centerpiece of his approach is the Partnership Charter, a document that clearly outlines the goals, expectations, responsibilities, and relationships of the principals. The charter identifies potential sources of conflict and how they will be resolved, while addressing such sensitive issues as personal styles, values, money, and power. Illustrating every principle through engaging stories drawn from Gage's front-line experience consulting to business partners, as well as interviews with the founding partners of such successful businesses as Progressive Insurance Company and Manpower, Inc., The Partnership Charter dispels common myths and presents a practical framework for launching, building, and sustaining a thriving business partnership.

30 review for The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix The One You're In)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    This is a great book for anyone considering going into business with partners (including LLCs and corporations). Written by professional mediators who have seen every type of small business conflict, it's a virtual laundry list of difficult conversations to have with your partners while you are still friends. The "charter" is a written (but not a legal) document that spells out everyone's expectations and decisions on difficult topics that will keep your partners and your enterprise out of civil This is a great book for anyone considering going into business with partners (including LLCs and corporations). Written by professional mediators who have seen every type of small business conflict, it's a virtual laundry list of difficult conversations to have with your partners while you are still friends. The "charter" is a written (but not a legal) document that spells out everyone's expectations and decisions on difficult topics that will keep your partners and your enterprise out of civil court. So much wisdom is packed in these pages. Do you have or are you considering business partners? Buy this book. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tigran Mamikonian

    This is one of the best books in mediation subject I’ve ever read. Author is covering very comprehensively the topic of partnerships. This topic is as important as rarely covered in academic studies. The mediator’s approach to this subject presented by David Gage is very instrumental for understanding how one can negotiate the most balanced partnership agreement to last and prosper for many years. For me the book revealed a great instrument which is obvious, but I didn’t know it before. It is Part This is one of the best books in mediation subject I’ve ever read. Author is covering very comprehensively the topic of partnerships. This topic is as important as rarely covered in academic studies. The mediator’s approach to this subject presented by David Gage is very instrumental for understanding how one can negotiate the most balanced partnership agreement to last and prosper for many years. For me the book revealed a great instrument which is obvious, but I didn’t know it before. It is Partnership Charter - non-binding document covering all areas of agreements between partners, namely thee: 1/ Business Issues (in most cases covered in standard Shareholders agreements), 2/ Interpersonal Relations between Partners, 3/ The future of the Business and the Partners. The key idea of the book is that it is better to discuss and agree frankly all angles of partnership while your relations with partners are constructive so that to ensure you can smoother resolves issues which arise. Objectively, the existence of issues is matter of time. Here are several illustrative quotes from the book proving this necessity: - “Partners have a tendency to leave a sliver of ambiguity in their arrangements, which grows until one day it becomes monster overshadowing the partners’ every conversation”. - “If you can see ambiguities in you relationships with you existing partners address them while you’re still getting along”. - “Knowing and accepting your limitations is a real strength”. So the Partnership Charter is assumed to capture partners’ intentions, dreams, expectations and agreements - their collective reality. If there is not such document “… many disputes among partners are essentially battles of memories…”. David suggests to answer 4 key questions before going to any partnership: 1/ Why do you want a business? 2/ Why do you want to have a partner? 3/ Are there better alternatives that taking on a partner? 4/ Is the person you are choosing the best partner for you? There are two aspects of all answers - they have to be frank and compatible for all partners, otherwise falling apart of the partnership is a matter of short time. Here are essential elements of successful partnership: 1/ A good fit between partners - here author recommends to use DISC or MBTI tests. More first that the second to determine the personal communication characteristics and preferences; 2/ Similar Values - here author encourages to use “Personal Values Test” by Thomas Ritt; 3/ The ability to be team player; 4/ Compatible goals and clear expectations; 5/ Mutual trust and respect - last but most important. David provides very good justification of necessity to write down all agreements… “… I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant”. “… every technique that promotes understanding reduces the likelihood of conflict.." Here is the proposed structure of Partnership Charter: Section 1: Business Issues: 1/ Vision and strategic direction: Importance of the alignment of partners vision and strategic directions is stressed by quotation from Steve Jobs: “ It’s okay to spend a lot of time arguing about which route to take to San Francisco when everyone wants to end up there, but a lot of time gets wasted in such arguments if one person wants to go to San Francisco and another secretly wants to go to San Diego…”. 2/ Ownership - all aspects of buying-in, selling, diluting, dividends, etc. A very interesting idea is presented for the event of partner’s death - insurance policies for owners with the amount equal to buyout heirs of the leaving partner. Also the governance is touched quite wisely quoting Thomas Jefferson: “It is not by consolidation or concentration of powers, but by their distribution that good government is effected." 3/ Titles, Roles and managing the company 4/ Employment and compensation Also David touches the “level of commitment issue - explaining that there is default standard that “all partners will give their all, at all times and forever”… Even if partners cannot demand equal performance of other partners, they believe it is reasonable to requite similar levels of ambition and commitment. The mandate, or expectations, that all partners give their all at all times is too rigid. It creates unhappiness for some partners because there’s no flexibility. In many partnerships, perhaps especially law firms with their monomania about billable hours, it is almost Partners can work out individual arrangement if they use the principle of fairness and look at the entire range of contributions and compare that with the entirety of what each partner will take out. We often see people breathe a sigh of relief when they realize they can work out unique arrangement for each person. The awkwardness, strain, and feelings of unfairness come most often when partners try squeezing themselves in rigid boxes that are all the same, usually with equal pay. Developing thorough lists of contributions makes it easier to understand and agree whether what partners want out of the business makes sense. Many partners find that this exercise helps them understand and agree realistic ownership percentages because it proves a clearer picture of all the factors that come into play…" 5/ Governance Section 2: The relationships among partners: 6/ Our personal styles and working more effectively together - this is aligned by using DISC or Myer-Brigs tests and thorough interpretations; 7/ Values: personal and corporate - identified by Thomas Ritt’s test called “Personal Values” 8/ Fairness: partners’ interpersonal equity Author introduces a great concept of “Interpersonal Equity” it is the state of feeling the fairness of the deal - when it is not the case author recommend to “Recheck and reevaluate the data” and if doesn’t help - renegotiate the deal. As mediator author put a lot of attention on feelings of empowerment, control and hope of partners: “ Co-owners of companies have tremendous control - if they can agree. If partners cannot agree, the feeling of having control will evaporate and the business may begin spinning its wheels." 9/ Expectations of the partners. Also author clearly explains the importance of agreeing with each other mutual expectations. And warns to commit more that you can give from one hand and fail to talk and ask what you want. In respective section of Partnership Charter author recommends to compile tables with detailed lists of mutual expectations of partners. Section 3: The future of the business and the partners: 10/ Creating guidelines for the unexpected - Scenarios. Author warns that “The future is sooner that you think” - so discuss different scenarios so that to be prepared. Sigmund Warburg, the founder of UBS is quoted: “All events should be crossed in imagination before reality”... I liked the technique of Unexpected Scenarios development very much, this process does not dictate how the partners must handle situation if it arises. Rather, it provides a baseline for how situations should be handled if they ever occur. Scenario planing is a rating point; it sets a direction. a month or a year after completing their charter, partners can agree to change their strategy. But if they cannot agree on the response in a moment of crisis, at least they will have a clear guidelines to fall back on. 11/ Resolving disputes and communicating effectively: And one of the scenarios is to agree how disputes will be handled in case negotiations don’t lead to constructive and mutually acceptable result - it can be mediation, arbitration or court. I definitely recommend everyone this book who is eager to build long lasting and prospering partnerships. See the full version of the review with my mind map for this book by going to the link https://www.evernote.com/shard/s22/sh...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    A very rich book. Provides a solid plan and reasoning to create a Partnership Charter for any size business. Based on their practice as business and partnership mediators. Inspiring!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mindful Reader

    Obviously a "work" book for me. The greatest value in this book is that Gage asserts the concept that partners should assess their own concepts of partnerships. His ideas about the actual Charter work are a little less formed and most partners would definitely need a facilitator to bring the ideas into solid fruition. Thankfully, that's job security for me. :-)

  5. 4 out of 5

    Max Nova

    This is a short and easy read - no brilliant insights but it covers all the bases (including some that I hadn't thought of) and does it in a way that isn't super boring. A must-read for anyone trying to start their business off on the right foot. It mostly stresses how to make sure all contingencies are covered and how to prevent and resolve disputes.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Pavel Annenkov

    Если у вас бизнес с партнёрами или вы планируете открыть бизнес с несколькими участниками, то без Партнерского Соглашения вам не обойтись. Эта книга о том, как правильно составить такое Соглашение.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alberto

    The Partnership Charter in the Appendix is well worth the time required to read it. The details of Vision, Operating Agreement and Accountability can easily be overlooked when starting a company. I can't say the same for the rest of the book: lengthy and full of psychology dissertations in the second part that I had to skim through. Of course we can go on and on with human nature treatises between partners, but that is the subject of another kind of books. I would have appreciated a more synthet The Partnership Charter in the Appendix is well worth the time required to read it. The details of Vision, Operating Agreement and Accountability can easily be overlooked when starting a company. I can't say the same for the rest of the book: lengthy and full of psychology dissertations in the second part that I had to skim through. Of course we can go on and on with human nature treatises between partners, but that is the subject of another kind of books. I would have appreciated a more synthetic, hands-on list of topics derived from the Partnership Agreement together with their priority score based on the author experience.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    This book was far more of a basic overview than I thought it would be. I expected the "Partnership Charter" to be more of a defined and structured guide. This was more of a loose framework. I enjoyed the book far more than I ever thought I would and it gave some valuable tips and insights that I had not considered on my own. If someone is considering a partnership, or looking to resolve conflicts within a current partnership, I would consider this book to be helpful.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jan Kolmas

    A good and practical read for startup founders and people in similar partnership situations.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eugene

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. great book on partnership and partners relationships. lot of real life examples from the author. though the general idea is that you should and could find a matching partner if you follow principles , rules and methods to examine yourself and the partner, the book gives a lot of them and they seem to be easy to apply in a real life.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jorge Lopez

    I think it's a most read for every entrepreneur and partnerships. I really enjoyed all the examples and also that it structures a very difficult topic because business it’s about marketing, production, finances and expectations, search for equity or human relationships. It helped a lot in my family business to get things out and think ahead for problems, it’s much better when you have clarified things than just assume that is what is going to happen. The only tricky thing is to get all of the tes I think it's a most read for every entrepreneur and partnerships. I really enjoyed all the examples and also that it structures a very difficult topic because business it’s about marketing, production, finances and expectations, search for equity or human relationships. It helped a lot in my family business to get things out and think ahead for problems, it’s much better when you have clarified things than just assume that is what is going to happen. The only tricky thing is to get all of the test´s he suggests and to actually create you charter might require their help or support from the workbook on their page and some improvisation and neutrality which becomes a lot harder if you are involved already in some conflicts with your partners. What I think are main topics: • Expectations • Interpersonal equity • Psychological profiles • Understanding others and how perceptions change with time • Memory issues and why is good to write things down • Taking in consideration future changes • And some points from a business plan or strategic planning.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    A great book if you are even thinking about forming a business partnership! It not only examines the business aspects, but also delves into the personal and psychological aspects of forming a partnership. In fact, I would recommend this book for people who are thinking of getting married or otherwise committing to a life partnership. As I read this, I was able to gain some clarity on what the real difficulties were in my last marriage. It will get you talking about expectations and what you each A great book if you are even thinking about forming a business partnership! It not only examines the business aspects, but also delves into the personal and psychological aspects of forming a partnership. In fact, I would recommend this book for people who are thinking of getting married or otherwise committing to a life partnership. As I read this, I was able to gain some clarity on what the real difficulties were in my last marriage. It will get you talking about expectations and what you each bring to the relationship, how you look at money and spending, sharing power, values, and other issues that can sink any partnership - whether romantic, business, or both!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carol Gibson

    Great book for putting all of the cards on the table before you start s partnership. An inventory of financial, emotional, working style and personal priorities.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    time 100

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Doesn't read like a business book. A guide to thinking through issues of partnership.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hassan Abdelaal

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dina C.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vlad Alive

  19. 5 out of 5

    TWBC Witcherley Books

  20. 5 out of 5

    Soline Nibagwire

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pritam

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chantha Lim

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eunice

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cat George

  25. 5 out of 5

    Eljean Soriano

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ezal

  27. 5 out of 5

    Pankaj Sharma

  28. 4 out of 5

    Candace

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lolobull

  30. 4 out of 5

    Isaac Yeri

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