Partnerships—whether formalized in 3to5 Clubs or informal intentional business relationships—require a few key building blocks for their foundation. According to researchers at the University of Tennessee, there are five essential components needed to build a healthy framework for negotiating agreements.
These components are also essential to creating healthy business advisory groups. To use a concrete example, my next two posts will illustrate how the following five elements can work specifically within 3to5 Club business advisory groups.
This is built between members as they experience consistency of actions and words with one another over time. While the facilitator provides the instruction and framework for Club members to participate in bi-monthly, two-hour meetings, the six members who form the leadership team are responsible for the mechanics of Club life.
Leaders set the tone for the Club. They need to walk their talk. Leaders who regularly attend, participate and contribute to the measurable components of Club life—having one-to-one meetings with other members, make end-client and strategic partner introductions—usually also experience more business done.
The more leaders give, the more trust they build among members and, thus, perpetuate a virtuous cycle of building more trust.
Members watch and absorb the attitudes and actions of the leaders in regard to all kinds of change within the group. When leaders act generously and share in both the risks and the rewards, they create a positive atmosphere that builds great Clubs.
Leaders have clarity about their own BATNA and WIIFM but also are committed to building the group’s WIIFWe. Like any social grouping, Clubs go through stages of forming, storming and norming.
Leaders enjoy the euphoria of rapid growth of the honeymoon stage of Club life.
Leaders help members navigate the ups and downs of club life—even the realities of a 2-3% monthly attrition rate.
These leaders guide clubs through the calm waters of norming when the Club’s unspoken culture has been set and is operating well.
Great leaders are adept at guiding their Clubs through all three stages of Club life.
Club leaders set the stage for open and timely sharing of information to achieve “we” goals. Leaders do well to emulate the behaviors of Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) business owners. These folks share specific details about their financial situation (click HERE for a full list of questions). They look for ways to push each other ahead—down to supporting each other in meeting revenue and personal income goals.
Here are some topics that club members could communicate to build trust:
Are Club members open in sharing
- the number of days off each month they take vs. their goal?
- revenue goals for their business?
- the amount of personal income? BMD picture? [Their BATNA].
If members have partners/key employees, is their firm willing to share
- organizational goals,
- financial forecasts and projections,
- strategic initiatives,
- potential concerns and problems,
- changes in policy/personnel?
Which of the above items will build trust with other Club members? Will this information foster transparency and better decision-making among members?
Additionally, Club members should ask themselves if they
- have appropriate confidentiality practices to ensure information shared will be kept confident?
- have anyone else they should consult before sharing this information outside their firm?
- have clear expectations of what they want to give to their Club?
- have clear expectations of what they want to get from their Club?
While this blog explains how the first three essential components of building a great partnership (e.g. establishing trust, having resiliency in leading, and communicating well) apply to a specific business advisory group—3to5 Clubs—these principles can be applied to any business group.
Are you a member of any group that regularly meets? Ask yourself: what is one thing I can do to implement an idea from this blog and share with my group/Club?