The other topic in the book discussion on April 25th was prompted by Letter 8, “The Companions in the Journey,” where I talk about the joy – and necessity – of having a close partner in the entrepreneurial adventure. Several in our discussion group pointed out how difficult it was for them to find a lasting partner. They argued that ego and the need for control got in their way time and time again (probably their own as well as potential partners.) Nevertheless, I still feel that a close relationship with someone who complements our weaknesses and shortcomings is essential for success, and that all leaders must make an effort to find those close companions on the journey. The challenge is how to indentify them, and, when we do, how to make them feel like more than just employees or “associates” but true co-drivers of the company’s future. I would love to hear what you have found works – or does not – in making this happen.
The challenge of finding close business companions
Published by ricardolevy
RICARDO B. LEVY is an executive and entrepreneur whose career spans more than three decades of founding and building successful businesses. Born and raised in South America to a European immigrant family, he completed engineering studies in the United States at Stanford and Princeton before returning to South America to run a family business. In 1969 he sold the business and returned to the United States to complete his PhD at Stanford in the field of catalytic chemistry. In 1974, after a number of years in the petroleum and petrochemical industry, he cofounded his first entrepreneurial venture, Catalytica, a research and development firm serving the chemical, pharmaceutical, and clean energy industries. The firm’s discoveries resulted in more than one hundred patents and led to the formation of three companies, one of which became, under Levy’s leadership, the largest supplier to the pharmaceutical industry in North America. Dr. Levy currently serves on public and private corporate boards of directors and the advisory board of the Santa Clara University Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, a global incubator of social entrepreneurs. He is a lecturer at the Stanford University Chemical Engineering Department, where he teaches a course on entrepreneurship and new venture creation. Throughout his life, Dr. Levy has pursued a keen interest in spirituality and personal growth and has continually applied his diverse studies to his roles as a business leader, mentor and teacher. View all posts by ricardolevy
One thought on “The challenge of finding close business companions”
I’ve been involved in two businesses where I’ve had serious partners. In both the partnership arrived out of a common interest. We both wanted the same thing and joined forces to achieve it.
Like a good marriage, there are certain ideals that can’t be negotiated (will you have children, live in this part of the country, goto church, ect). Seeing eye to eye on these aspects ensure that you are always moving towards the same end goal.
Choosing a partner in business should be like choosing a partner in life. If something does not feel quite right; eject. I’ve been lucky to have two partners that I can trust with my life to do the right thing and who compliment me.
As a visionary and creature of passion I need people who are more focused, who can coral my passion. Even though that leads to some hard decisions, I know in the end that I need to be protected from myself. Alone, I fear I would travel in circles and never execute the ideas I come up with.
Making hasty decisions on partnerships in business and life is sure to end in disaster. Settling is a short term fix. Don’t let age or timing force you into making a decision you may regret.