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Let’s face it. Your co-founder relationship often feels like you went to the altar at one point in time…a lot like marriage. So, how can it work well for the long run…or even right now?
You just don’t see eye-to-eye these days
You are going one direction and your co-founder another.
Step 1: Remember the spark of the early days and do some of those things now. Trigger memories of why you hooked up in the first place. Perhaps you worked on your budget over a beer on a cocktail napkin. Go work on something else over a beer on a cocktail napkin. Ignite the story telling of the early days.
Step 2: Get your co-founder to open up about the reasons behind the reasons of their discontent or concerns. Sometimes we human beings waive the flag about what seems to be the “right issue” when the real issue is about our own insecurities and fears. Be a safe, nonjudgmental co-founder with no agendas…really. It will come through and you will get nuggets, clues about how you can have more impact on your business with your co-founder.
Step 3: Put yourself aside and see if there could be merit to anything your co-founder is telling you. Even if you can offer a partial resolution where they feel they “won,” you can win what you need in the end which is more collaboration and cooperation with your co-founder.
Step 4: Validate them. It’s so easy in concept yet so darned difficult to master. Get them to tell you exactly what they think should be different…and then simply ask them “is there more?” Even if you don’t agree with their position, offer “you think XYZ, am I right?” Bottom line? You are brilliant because you “get it.” This may be a shocker, but sometimes that is all you have to do…and then you get all the cooperation you desire. It truly is magic.
Step 5: Look for ways you appreciate your co-founder. Think of things they do that you really don’t want to do…or allow it to happen. The unsaid says the most at times. Attitude truly counts.
Co-founders can bring us rich gifts of insight and passion. They can help us see what we cannot see objectively. Celebrate the fact you have someone equally invested with you in one of the most important chapters of your life…running your own business.