When partners begin to experience difficulties in their business relationship, they have essentially two choices: negotiate sooner in a friendly environment, or be forced to negotiate later in a tense and sometimes hostile environment.
BMC Associates has drawn on its extensive experience mediating conflicts among principals and pioneered a unique, structured process for partners who want to become more knowledgeable about partnerships and avoid destructive conflicts. It’s called a Partnership Charter.
Over the years, as we listened to partners describe their conflicts, we discovered certain patterns and problems that turned up again and again. The Partnership Charter is a conflict prevention tool designed to help partners avoid the pitfalls and plan for their success. It is used to talk about difficult, seldom asked, and highly sensitive issues and create guidelines and structures before the issues have a chance to result in conflict. A charter can be created when selecting partners and just starting out or after partners have worked together for years. Either time can be the right time.
Some elements included in Partnership Charters can be found in partnership or shareholders agreements. However, the Charter covers these areas in much greater depth – for example not only who has what titles but what they really mean. Other elements, such as expectations and fairness, are not touched upon in partnership agreements yet are crucial to a partnership’s ultimate success.
The benefits of considering a Partnership Charter:
- acts as a guide for the principals
- builds trust in one another
- lessens ambiguity
- lessens chances for disputes
- improves the chances of long-term success
Because the Partnership Charter process is innovative and unique, it has received wide attention in the business press. It is also the subject of a book by BMC principal, Dr. David Gage, entitled The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (Or Fix The One You’re In).
BMC has created a step-by-step Workbook to structure effective development of Partnership Charters. Combining the Partnership Charter Workbook with guidance from our associates (available at levels of intensity suitable to diverse needs), the BMC Partnership Charter process is an effective tool for preventing conflict and enhancing effectiveness in partnerships of all kinds.
Read more about the The Partnership Charter Workbook and the different levels of assistance BMC offers to help you prepare your Partnership Charter.