Is Total Harmony within a Partnership a Necessity for Success?
It maybe idealistic, but my view of a professional partnerships revolves around a number of parties working together to achieve a common goal and outcome for the betterment of all. Perhaps a little naive and optimistic…. ?
Nevertheless, I always become concerned when I meet with parties who are considering a partnership and there are already significant disagreements around a number aspects relating to the operation and development of their proposed practice.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s all smooth sailing, no doubt there will be some differences of opinion, and at times agreeing to disagree will be the best outcome. But, who really wants to be in a partnership that is in constant disagreement and turmoil? It just doesn’t seem a pleasant place to be. I want to want to go to work, not dread rolling into the office to try and avoid my fellow partners and the latest battles.
Areas we often see disagreement arise include:-
♦ partners salaries
♦ partner profits
♦ profit distributions
♦ level of fees managed
♦ partner generated revenue
♦ new client introductions
♦ goodwill values
♦ leave entitlements
♦ chargeable hours
♦ worked hours
♦ staff employment and management
♦ staff utilisation and delegation
♦ practice funding
♦ time recording and succession.
There are many more but this gives you an idea.
Please don’t think that I am suggesting a difference of opinion should never take place within a partnership, because that’s simply not true. However, I strongly recommend that any parties considering partnership opportunities firstly evaluate their own thoughts and opinions around such topics listed above and once you are clear about those decisions for yourself, it’s imperative to have similar discussions with your proposed partners.
It’s extremely unlikely that agreement will be reached across the board on all subject matters.
Undertaking such a strategy then provides the opportunity to develop an approach to resolving such matters and achieve a way forward. Good healthy debate never hurt anyone, but being in a dysfunctional partnership is far from ideal and one that can be avoided with some upfront legwork.