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The Delicious Taste of Partnerships | Chicago Leadership Partners
We can find them in food groups. We can find them in music. We can find them in entertainment. We can find them in philanthropic ventures. We can even find them in infamous criminal endeavors. And we can certainly find them in business.

Great relationships and partnerships – of both the strategic and unintentional variety – have paved the way for all kinds of successful enterprises. Some of the world’s most effective partnerships have resulted in companies with products and services that made an impact.

I still remember a commercial from growing up that celebrated the accidental pairing of chocolate and peanut butter. A peanut butter eater inadvertently bumped into a chocolate eater and the subsequent exchange went something like this: “You put your chocolate in my peanut butter. And your peanut butter is on my chocolate!” Followed by the inevitable celebratory exclamation, “It’s delicious!”

I’ve come to find that to be true in most things in life where two or more come together and work as one. Maybe “delicious” isn’t always exactly the right word, but great partnerships definitely make things better. I think that we are better together. I believe that we are wired that way.

That’s why I love and believe in the purpose of a chamber of commerce because it serves to bring business and community together. Business partnerships capture the best of both experts: realtors partnering with lenders, plumbers partnering with remodelers, and businesses partnering with non-profits all help make our community great.

The best partnership opportunities are those where you partner “up”, each bringing a key ingredient that makes the mix taste better. Partnerships say “you have strengths that I don’t have, and I have strengths that you don’t have. And the only way we’re going to be successful is by bringing those together and complimenting one another, completing one another.”

Yet many people still try to do it alone. Rather than complete others, they compete. They miss the truth that one is too small a number to achieve greatness.

Thomas Edison’s light bulb invention needed financial partners like J. P. Morgan and the Vanderbilt family to establish Edison Electric Company power stations across the country.

In 2013 I traveled with leadership expert and author John Maxwell and a team of 150 leadership coaches to Guatemala. In two days we trained 20,000 leaders across the country. That effort would have been impossible without strategic partnerships coming together, each with their unique contribution. But a strong partnership divides the effort and multiplies the effect.

There is something beautiful about people coming together, wanting to make a difference in other people’s lives. An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.”

Batman and Robin got it. John Lennon and Paul McCartney got it. Ben and Jerry got it. Hewlett and Packard got it. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and got it. Even Bonnie and Clyde got it!

My question is, “Do YOU get it?” Or has the greatness of your organization been limited by you going it alone too much? Who do you need to take you to the next level? What strengths can you bring to someone that will add value to them? Who should you work with to help you reach your potential?

Go find the Robin to your Batman. Find the Lennon to your McCartney. Get your Vanderbilt family together with a J.P. Morgan and go find an Edison to invest in. Introduce your peanut butter friends to your jelly colleagues and you just might enjoy the delicious taste of partnerships made in heaven!

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