Partners make life better for each other. Except when they don’t.

The idea is that working together you can achieve more than working apart. Each partner brings capabilities and assets to the game that lower the cost and oil the wheels in special ways. Both sides win.

Entering the relationship, it helps if both sides need the other enough to make it equally interesting. Where either end of the handshake puts about the same effort into the deal and feels well rewarded for doing so. Even more important, each party has to be respected as an equal.

Things go wrong when balance is lost; when one feels the other is getting a disproportionate benefit, or isn’t paying attention, or reprioritises in favour of newer or bigger fish, or is building a wall for the future, or behaves like they have all the power, is arrogant, unresponsive, slow.

Choosing partners is as much about organisational fit as operational capability. Just like life, one sided relationships don’t work.

Skippy Strategy: Look out whenever you sense the centre of gravity shifting. Start thinking about Plan B.