Sometimes when we work with others, we must end our partnerships. Like any divorce or separation, it can be tricky both legally and emotionally. In the development of an idea or a product, there are no children but there is this third thing, this creation that has sprung from the commingling of two minds. How do you divide something that has its own being-ness in half?
There are plenty of lawyers who will talk about the legal aspects of separating and dividing up assets but in this article, I will focus on the more personal aspects.
It’s in my mind because recently, I had to change the nature of my relationship with someone that I’d been in partnership with for over 3 years and have known for almost 20. Since I had spent much of the past year filled with irritation at the sight of him, I was expecting this change to be a relief. I was surprised to find grief instead.
The partnership was clearly not working and this decision has forced me to look at how I operate in partnership – who do I choose and how do I handle problems. For a lot of personal reasons, he was unresponsive. He’d agree to deliver certain results by a certain time and months would go by. A development process that should have taken 2 – 3 months took 12. I had become so frustrated that I couldn’t even address the issue with him.
Although it is easy to blame others in this scenario, the problem was clearly mine. Although I had tried to call him to the mat when he first missed deadlines, I soon gave up. He was always apologetic but clearly unchangeable. Although I fantasized about walking away, I didn’t, wanting to keep my hand in the project “just in case”, just in case the project got sold, just in case he changed, just in case some miracle of nature might happen. It didn’t. And energy that I could have put into something more fulfilling got wasted.
I had allowed this and then, instead of taking responsibility and either doing what needed to be done myself or moving on, I got to judge him in return. This did not in any way move our project forward. What a waste of time.
If you are currently developing a project with someone who is not operating at your level of commitment, ask yourself these questions.
– How does this person reinforce your beliefs – that people won’t help you, that you’re in it alone, etc? (Even if you perceive this person as not “your” choice, they are still in it with you so ask this question anyway)
– How are you enabling their excuses and why?
– How can you address your dissatisfaction without judgment and nip this now before it devolves even more?