Improving Partnerships


A substantial challenge in businesses of all sizes is the how the principals (owners, executives, or even family members) approach partnering with each other. Almost all partnerships come to moments of unanticipated change or challenge--potentially producing disabling disagreement that can cause the business arrangements to falter or even fail. 

A successful business partnership can enable to fulfill each partner's dreams. Or it can become an excruciating nightmare. The difference is often determined by a few key factors. How well do the partners understand each other? How well do they treat each other? How well have they clarified their business arrangement? How well do their dreams meld into a common, powerful vision? Do they have values that strengthen the partnership?

The consequences of an underperforming or failed partnership are often very painful:

  • Distracted owners and employees. Precious time and money are lost if partners are absorbed in their relationship instead of their business. When owners’ focus is lost, employees’ focus is sure to follow.
  • Lack of strategic direction. Divided leadership produces inconsistent direction or no direction at all.
  • Emotional pain. Partners invest a great deal in each other—emotionally as well as financially. When that investment goes bad and stays bad, it hurts more with every passing day.
  • Business decline or failure. The efforts and dreams of decades can be lost. Economic security for families can be lost. Respect and reputation can be tainted.

Coridium Advisors has affiliated with BMC Associates, experts in partnerships and mediation, to offer the Partnership Charter for clients who want to improve their partnerhip.

Is This You?

  • You're considering a partnership but avoiding the hard conversations about how you want the partnership to work.
    – Partners who consider and agree on how the many areas of a partnership should or need to work can be the best investment you and your partner(s) can make and is a strong hedge against the partnership failing.
  • Although you have big dreams about your pending business partnership, there are many issues and concerns about the partnership you avoid or worry that you don’t even know about.
    Partners who consider and agree upfront how they want the partnership to work can help both partners decide whether partnering is best for them and know what work it will take to partner successfully.
  • Improving how your business partnership works seems overwhelming, taking too much time and resources to produce a better result.
    Successful business partnerships have an agreed mechanism for handing the inevitable disagreements keeping the partnership focused on business rather than tensions and disagreements.

An a priori designed set of agreements on the many things that make a partnership work and on how to handle different scenarios provides partners with a road map for handling challenges to the partnership.

Benefits of Partnership Charters

Creating a Partnership Charter will help you and your partner(s)

  • Address issues that may be outside your comfort zone but are crucial to the overall success of the partnership.
  • Learn what it will be like to work together day to day and manage the challenges and stresses associated with being in partnership.
  • Build a level of commitment that accelerates partners’ results beyond the expected.
  • Test the partnership in different ways, and gain an appreciation for what the challenges will mean for success or failure.
  • Align your values and vision and understand the implications of any differences.
  • Set out an informal contract that can be used to prepare the legal documents establishing the partnership


Who We Work With

You’re likely to get great value in working with us if you and your partner(s)

  • Know the value of partnering based on experience or study--and also know the potential pitfalls.
  • Openly express respect for what each partner does and brings to the partnership.
  • Are intent on getting the "right framework" in place to guide the management and leadership of the business.
  • Are serious about making your pending or existing partnership work well.
  • Have read some of our articles or heard us speak about the values of Partnership Charters.
  • Are open to discussing sensitive/difficult issues with each other (or are willing to be guided in doing so).
  • Are willing to work with an advisor.
  • Can invest the needed resources of time and effort to bring about a successful Partnership Charter agreement


How We Work

Coridium Advisors’ Partnership Charter offering comes in several forms, based on the needs and nature of what the partners want to accomplish as well as the value of potential partnership. Common to all options, we provide the workbooks, assessment instruments and other written materials that help partners in their discussions and agreements.

Full-Service Option

This is the most comprehensive option. It is recommended when

  • There are more than three important stakeholders.
  • The business arrangements are complex.
  • The principals anticipate areas of disagreement.

A two-person multidisciplinary team of experts in both business and psychology leads the Full-Service Option. The heart of the approach is the three-day retreat or an equivalent series of face-to-face meetings. Preparatory work utilizing the Workbook precedes the retreat. This option is designed to yield a complete written Partnership Charter that thoroughly documents all key business and interpersonal issues. The consultant drafts the approximately 30-page Charter document based on the partners’ discussions, negotiations and agreements. Partners typically share their Partnership Charter with their business attorney who then drafts the legal documents for their corporation or partnership.

Guided Retreat Option

This is the preferred option for most partners. A single consultant with expertise in either business or psychology but well versed in both conducts an in-person retreat. Extensive preparation occurs by email and telephone using the Workbook exercises for each Charter unit. The consultant meets with the partners for a three-day retreat (or the equivalent time in half- or full-day meetings) and assists them with their discussions and negotiations. The partners do the final drafting of their Partnership Charter with assistance from the consultant. Partners typically share their Partnership Charter with their business attorney who then drafts the legal documents for their corporation or partnership. Although all key business and interpersonal issues are explored, not all are considered in the same depth as in the Full-Service Option.

Self-Guided Option

In the Self-Guided Option, we provide a workbook and the assessment instruments to the partners. They work through the exercises and use the two instruments. We critique the resulting Partnership Charter and recommend ways to strengthen it. If the partners request greater involvement at some point, that can be negotiated and arranged. Partners typically share their Partnership Charter with their business attorney who then drafts the legal documents for their corporation or partnership.

What To Do

If you are interested in exploring how you and your partner(s) can benefit from the Partnership Charter, download one of our articles. Or read the following case ideas of partners we have worked with:

Ensuring a Healthy Business Partnership

Exiting an Unworkable Partnership

Or you can contact us and request a free one-hour strategy session in which we will explore with you whether the Partnership Charter is right for you.

Coridium Advisors. Empowering your creative vision with structure.™