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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Featured Biz Question

My partner is not putting out as much effort as he should...leaving me to do all the work. Now for a new business like mine, it's becoming a setback. How do I tackle?

Answer from our Guest Expert Terri Levine of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc.

Partnership Problems

Dear CyberSchmoozer,

Yours is a classic communication problem. Who hasn't had another person leave them holding the proverbial bag? Not pulling their own fair share of the load? Well, take heart and take my advice: it's all about knowing how you feel and how to share those thoughts with others.

Think About You First

First, let's start with what you're feeling. I'd like for you to get clarity around what you do and don't want in your partnership relationship. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What don't you want to do?
  • What don't you want to experience?
  • How do you want to feel about the partnership?
  • How do you want to behave, or for your partner to behave?
  • How is his behavior specifically setting the company back and making you feel?

Really think about these questions so you get a clear understanding of exactly what you are wanting. The feelings you want. The goals you desire. The experiences you want. What you want from yourself, your partner, the relationship, the business. Bring all these thoughts and goals to the surface first. This is the most important first step.

Often, most people skip this self-reflection step and go right into the action mode. Without this inner landscape to help you know what you desire, however, you won't be able to make the best choices.

Share Your Thoughts with Partner

Once you know what you want and don't want from the partnership situation, share it with your partner. Don't hold back.

Partnerships that work, work because there's honesty and no judgment in sharing what is "your" truth. Tell your partner what's working for you and what's not quite right yet. Then allow your partner to do the same.

Create a Plan of Action

Brainstorm together on what would be ideally perfect in the partnership and why it would be perfect for each of you. Then come up with the resources you'd need to achieve the type of partnerships you're both wanting. Make a list of what it will take to make this all happen for you --

  • Do you need more tools, more employees to alleviate the problem?
  • Do you need to nail down better work schedules and work responsibilites for each of you?
  • How will you be held accountable for your performances?
  • Should you hire a business coach, find a SCORE mentor or talk to other partners who've been down your road?
  • Is space and time a big issue that needs to be addressed?

Finally, be truthful. Don't be afraid to tell the truth. Know if you fully communicate, you will establish a long-lasting relationship with your partner. If you don't nip your negative feelings in the bud, they are only going to blossom and grow. Communicate your feelings and goals for the partnership; work together to overcome these issues; and create a plan of action for getting back on the right track, together.


Terri Levine, President,

Author, Work Yourself Happy and Coaching for an Extraordinary Life

This Coffee Talk was inspired by an actual posting in Idea Cafe's CyberSchmooz. If you'd like to dish up some more advice for this person, click here and post your reply today! The more, the merrier!


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About the Expert

Terri Levine
Owner of Comprehensive Coaching U, Inc.
Fed up with her high-paying, corporate job, Terri took control of her life and became a biz coach (and published author). She loves helping others to "work happy" in her new biz. more