Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. — Kahlil Gibran
Last Tuesday we discussed the signs and patterns that your partner is not living up to his or her end of the bargain. Here are a few more indicators of when a separation of business partnership may be necessary.
When your partner’s performance is lacking the spark that initially attracted you, try to be objective at first. The standards you keep for yourselves should be the same for every employee. There are a multitude of reasons for sub-par performance, but if you are holding up your end of the bargain from deadlines and sales figures to establishing budgets, and it’s not being reciprocated, then it’s time for “the talk.”
That’s not a joint-checking account — that’s a business account. And beyond that, it’s got to have some funds in it. You don’t want your checks to bounce and incur any kind of penalties, especially during early and lean times.
I’ve said before, pay your people first. If they’re not getting their checks because one of very few people with access is draining the funds, that’s a major dealbreaker right there.
When It Feels Like Your Partner’s Not There
If it feels that way because it is that way, that’s even worse than underperformance. I’m not talking about the occasional long lunch, either. If your partner has suddenly or habitually falls off the radar, Don Draper-style, then you’ve got the right to feel like the jilted spouse.
The problem with this is Don Draper and “Mad Men” are fiction — no matter how “accurately they depict the times.” We are in an age where everyone is accessible. Most people I know have to check in with their spouses, anyway — present company included. There’s no reason why your partner cannot simply send an email, text, fax, tweet or send a carrier pigeon to let you know that not only is he/she alive but will return, and is aware that the absence is noticeable.
The 3 Cs: Cuties, Cards and Coke
Cuties. Last week we touched upon office romances and how they can hinder the overall dynamic. The bosses should be keeping their pants zipped up. You can’t stop your employees from engaging in certain consensual behavior, but you can keep yourselves in check and set a good example. I am not talking about just in the business, but if your business partner’s attentions are elsewhere, it can be a problem. Especially if that attention is expensive.
Cards. The occasional office pool is fine but it should be a 15-minute distraction and then get back to the grind. Fantasy leagues are an in-office no-no. If you can, have IT disable those sorts of sites from company computers’ internet browsers. Sit your partner down if you think gambling is becoming an issue, because it may be a matter of time before it’s the cause of the overwithdrawals.
Coke. I wish I was referring to cola. Sadly, I’ve known a lot of people in various professions who’ve had some bad substance habits and it affected every facet of their lives. Ultimately, it led to the downfall of several companies and businesses that should have prospered. Or it led to an executive’s ousting. These were not bad folks, but they made some big mistakes while they were responsible for other people’s money and keeping workers employed. Once is a mistake and twice is a pattern as far as I’m concerned — and that’s me at my most liberal. You don’t want people with these issues in leadership positions and thought of as your better half. If it happens more than once, cut the poor soul loose and put yourself back on the market for a new partner, if you need one.
Next week, we’ll conclude this series with a look at business divorces in New York State.
Feel free to contact Brinen & Associates to discuss your business-split needs.