7 Points for a Successful Partnership

A strong partnership divides the effort and multiplies the effect.

I wrote a book called Intentional Living, and out of the 100-plus books I’ve authored, this one is the most important I’ve ever written. One of the things I teach in this book is the value of what I call Front End Thinking. This kind of thinking is 10 to 1 more valuable than back end thinking. If you are intentional you think on the front end. You say to yourself where am I going? What am I trying to accomplish? What do I need to see and say? If you think well on the front end, your odds of having success are going to be much higher than if you think on the back end (“Oh my, what did I do? How can I change this?”)

There is a statement that says all’s well that ends well. That may be true, but let me tell you what’s better: All’s well that begins well. You can’t end well if you don’t begin well. Intentional living starts you down the right track of ending well.

I say that because in order to have a successful partnership you need to start well on the front end. Your success in your business is based on your ability to get along and partner well with other people and companies.

There are seven points to consider to for a successful partnership:

Place Their Agenda At The Top Of Your Agenda

When you partner with someone, they need to know where they stand in the relationship. And when they know they are at the top of your agenda it makes a major statement in their mind. When I was around 21 years of age I heard the late Zig Ziglar say, “If you will first help others get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” As he spoke and moved across the stage, I felt as if he were talking to just me.

Add Value On A Daily Basis

That was a major shift for me when I heard Zig say this because I was doing the exact opposite. I realized that up until that point I had been putting my needs and wants ahead of others, asking people to help me accomplish my goals and dreams.

But what I needed to do was focus on the needs of others. This changed my life and the way I taught leadership. I needed to add value to them first. I committed to becoming a ladder builder instead of a ladder climber. I needed to add value to others first. When you add value to yourself you add. But when you add value to others you multiply.

Resource You With Influence, Ideas, And Tools

So what does it mean to resource with influence? It means I am going to introduce you to people that I influence, which in turn will help increase your influence. The most important question you can ask someone who you are trying to gain influence from is who do you know that I should know? That question has opened up so many doors in my life.


“Your success in your business is based on your ability to get along, and partner well with other people and companies.”

If Influence asks who do you know that I should know? Ideas asks what do you know? Every time you meet with your partners, keep your eyes and ears open for fresh ideas you can implement in your own business.

Tools asks the question what do you use that I should use? What are the tools, systems and practices that have proven to be successful for your partners? A system is like a freeway, it gets you to where you are needing to go the quickest. Practices are the things you do that bring the desired success.

Tailor Your Services To Meet Their Needs

The key to tailoring is based on your questions. You have to be someone that asks good questions. Here is the challenge. The more you know someone, the less questions you ask. The more we know someone the more we come with answers, not questions. And when you are coming to the table with all the answers instead of questions, you are starting to live a life of assumption, which can bring a quick death to the relationship. And when you run out of answers, you run out of relationships.

Never Violate The Trust You Have In Us

If you are going to partner with me, I am never going to violate the trust you put in me. Because everything works on the basis of trust. Remove trust and you’ve lost the relationship. The highest compliment a person can say about you is that they can count on you.

Exceed Expectations In Everything You Do

Seventy percent of people don’t meet expectations. 25 percent meet expectations. And only 5 percent exceed expectations. And it’s those 5 percent that are going to walk away with the business. The least you can do is meet expectations, anything below that is total failure. I want meeting expectations to be your ground floor and exceeding expectations to be your ceiling.

Respect The Relationship, And I Will Grow In It

I believe respect must be earned daily. I feel we sometimes confuse honor and respect. You honor a person for what they have done in the past. You respect a person for what they do. I could live off of honor the rest of my life, but I want to live off of respect. Always contribute and gain respect for what you are doing now. Gain honor down the road for what you accomplished, but gain respect for what you doing now.

Place your agenda at the top of our agenda.
Add Value on a daily basis.
Resource you with influence, ideas, and tools.
Tailor your services to meet their needs.
Never violate the trust you have in us.
Exceed expectations in everything you do.
Respect the relationship, and I will grow in it.

Partner with Life-Valued People

When seeking partners, don’t choose people based on what they say they can do or based on what they did once. Choose based on their regular behaviors. That’s how you know what they really value.

Too often our choices are made by what we think we could or should do rather than what we usually do. We are all human, so we should give everyone the benefit of the doubt. But we also need to be realistic. We need to have a picture of what we’re shooting for.

Picking the right partners is crucial to taking our lives to the next level. It is a key practice in intentional living. But we can pick the right partners only if we know what matters to us. In just a second I’ll offer a quick guide to help you assess your personal values, which will in turn help you pick the right partners.

What Are Your Values?

To find like-valued people, you need to know what you’re looking for. Think about the values most important to you for making a difference in the lives of others. As a starting point, I look for people who embody these 12 qualities:

  • Thinks about others first
  • Thinks bigger than self
  • Has a passion that’s contagious
  • Offers complementary skills
  • Is great at support
  • Possesses a can-do spirit
  • Has an expanded influence
  • Holds an activist mindset
  • Is a proven ladder builder
  • Stands out from the crowd
  • Creates teamwork
  • Makes a difference

Which of those is important to you? Put a check mark by them. What additional qualities or characteristics not listed are important to you? Write them down. This becomes your starting list for finding like-valued people.


“REMEMBER: Great partnerships make you better than you are. They multiply your values, enable you to do what you do best, allow you to help others do their best, give you more time, help you fulfill the desires of your heart, and compound your vision and effort.”


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