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Last week I shared my initial thoughts on the “Yoke” Principle in The Yoke Principle Part 1: Ignore this Business Principle at Your Own Peril. In the post I stated that it’s critical that one’s worldview, core values, and general goals be compatible and in sync with an individual they intend to partner or team up with in a venture or relationship.

This week we’ll look at a few of the basic requirements or factors one should assess when determining whether to partner with someone. Following these factors will ensure the greatest probability of success.

Core Values

We’ve already stated this but check and double check this area. Are your core values in sync? For sure no two people will ever align perfectly and to be honest, a partnership’s success is often found in the diversity of strengths that the two partners bring to the table. However, the core values of the partners must be compatible and in unison or it’s probable that the venture will fail, and perhaps even in a spectacular fashion.

Goals

Do you share the same goals for the partnership or venture? As oxen pull together beneath their yoke, likewise partners must have the same goals or their efforts will be marginalized and thwarted. Align your goals and your mutual efforts will be compounded and will achieve greater success than those you might realize through your individual efforts.

Risk

While partners will frequently not have an equal investment in their venture together, it’s critical that they both have some degree of risk. Consider a scenario where the first partner has significant risk, whether of his capital, reputation or even his time, while the second partner has little to no risk. In such an arrangement, it’s highly likely that the second partner will be tempted to not exert nearly the same level of commitment or concern for the success of the venture. And because of the lack of risk by one of the partners, sooner or later it will begin to strain the relationship and will negatively impact the results of the venture.

Walking in alignment

When one considers a team of oxen under a yoke, it is apparent that the two oxen are walking in unison and side by side. One doesn’t falter behind while the other surges ahead. Or one doesn’t go to the left and the other to the right. Likewise, for a partnership to succeed, the partners must agree on the strategies to achieve their goals. Setting goals is actually quite easy. Where the difficulty often lies is in the development of the strategies to reach the goals. Partners must be able to align their strategies and then work together, within their own individual strengths, to deploy the strategies that will allow them to reach their goals.

Track record

Past history is the best predictor of future results. This truth is one that can apply to so many different scenarios in life. However, when evaluating whether to partner with an individual, one’s track record is something that should always be factored in. Does the prospective partner have a track record of success with others or is he a loner? Does his past suggest that he has failed in other partnerships? If there are warning signals from his past don’t brush those aside. Evaluate them fully and carefully. They may be an indicator as to what may be in store for you.

Clearly, there are many other variables and factors that we might consider as we evaluate whether to align or partner with another individual. And to be sure there is no one size fits all list. However, I believe the above factors are some of the most critical ones that we must answer satisfactorily if we are to “walk together” and realize the success we all desire.

The alternative to a successful partnership is one that none of us want to experience. So, remember this truth as you determine whether to yoke yourself together with that prospective partner: “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”

As you evaluate that next partnership opportunity, I trust these factors will serve to answer this question for you and either propel you to great success or spare you from potential failure.

Mark