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Solving the Co-Founders Challenge: Got Alignment?

Most people have to work at their marriages to ensure their unique personality traits provide upside — without driving them to divorce. The same principles also apply to making a business partnership work. If the movie The Social Network has taught us anything, Co-Founders can be torn apart by individuals with their unique qualities, competing priorities, differing ethics and more.

Some people get so excited starting a business that they don’t put the same effort into selecting a business partner as they would in finding a marriage partner. The same careful consideration should go into both decisions, as hopefully, you will be together for a really long time as the business succeeds.

But just like personal marriages, business co-founders can wind up in divorce court. Indeed, CoFounderworx,  a company that helps optimize Co-Founder relationships, found that 67% of teams broke up due to Co-Founder conflict.

Co-Founders: Keeping Score

To help mitigate such issues, the  company will soon offer a personality assessment quiz that each Founder can take to predict conflict, team compatibility, success, and failure. Using the results of the quiz, you can put strategies in place before conflict and inefficiency arise to help overcome these compatibility issues. CoFounderworx is also hosting an event with the New York Grant Company on Optimizing Co-Founder Relationships. The event promises to walk you through the three most common mistakes CoFounders make when choosing a partner.

If you have already chosen a business partner, and are currently working together, Forbes.com wrote an article about 10 Tips for Healthy Co-Founder Relationships. The article has a lot of great advice, but there are a few tips that I think are the most important.

First up: As co-founders, you and your business partner are different people who will never completely agree on everything — and you have to be OK with that. Pick your battles and let go of the ones that are less important to you, and then you can really focus on the issues that matter most to you. When one partner is completely dominating and all of their opinions count, where none of the other partner’s opinions seem to matter, it can cause some serious strain on the relationship.

Second, good communication is key — and that doesn’t just mean talking about business. Have the hard conversations with your partner, discuss the easy day to day things, talk about what is going on in your personal lives. Building a good partnership also means building or maintaining a good friendship. Make sure nothing gets left unsaid. When people hide their true feelings on something it can later explode and damage the personal or professional relationship.

If you approach your business relationship the same way you would approach a marriage, you can work together to build amazing things!

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