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The Partnership charter

The Partnership Charter by David Gage Millions of people co-own closely held companies, family businesses, and business partnerships, but establishing them and keeping them together is never easy. Here, finally, is the guide they have been waiting for.... Read More

The Five Dysfunctions & The Partnership Charter

Posting by Stewart Christ, MBA, Principal at BMC Associates

I recently re-read Patrick Lenconi’s book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I was reminded of why I was to blown away by the book when I first read it. I have also reflected on the five dysfunctions that are described by Lenconi, and our experience with business partners.

As you may recall, Lenconi presents the five dysfunctions as a pyramid. In order for a team to perform at a high level on a consistent basis, the team must overcome these five forms of dysfunction. At the bottom and foundation of the pyramid is “Absence of Trust,” where members must learn to trust one another on a deep, emotional level. Moving up the pyramid, the second dysfunction is “Fear of Conflict,” where team members become comfortable with openly challenging one another in a respectful process of discovery and dialog. The third dysfunction is “Lack of Commitment,” where team members come to openly express differing points of view and, through a process of exploration, members are ultimately willing to buy-in to the resulting group decisions.

Next to the top of the pyramid is the fourth dysfunction, “Avoidance of Accountability,” where team members as a group move to where they can negotiate and define performance standards that they all commit to and where they hold one another accountable. At the very top of the pyramid is “Inattention to Results,” where team members employ the behaviors from the four layers below, cast their egos aside, and put organizational outcomes ahead of their individual or department.

At BMC, we employ a methodology that is based on the book The Partnership Charter: How to Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix the One You’re In), written by our co-founder, Dr. David Gage. The Partnership Charter Workbook is structured into thirteen units covering a range of topics that form a foundation for creating and restoring healthy business partnerships. On reflection, the Charter is an active mechanism that builds this powerful pyramid.

Patrick Lenconi provides a framework to understand key elements of high performance management teams. Business partnerships are examples of such teams, and the Partnership Charter is an approach and method that recognizes the broader messages of The Five Dysfunctions and applies them to the specific scenario of business partners, owning and operating a company together. This is challenging and rewarding work, and we share Patrick’s passion for it.

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