Why Nurturing Partnerships Can Amplify your Impact
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Most of us understand the importance of partnerships in our lives. Whether you’re talking about friends, a spouse, or business associates, partnerships help give both our personal and professional lives a stronger foundation and meaning. Jean Oelwang, author of the new book Partnering: Forge the Deep Connections That Make Great Things Happen, conducted hundreds of interviews over the past 15 years to look at how these connections, when nurtured correctly, can help us achieve more, persevere and amplify our impact. Here are some of her insights on how to strengthen existing connections and forge new meaningful partnerships.
Recognize the importance of partnerships – The connections we have in our lives help us to become the best version of ourselves and allow us to achieve more. In Oelwang’s research many people spoke about how partnerships helped them fine tune their purpose, understand strengths and weaknesses, spark innovation and get through tough times. Partnerships ultimately bring more joy and help individuals have the confidence to do something bigger.
Understand what makes a partnership great – How do you know when a partnership is going well? Oelwang states that people in great partnerships find a way to rise above the drama and stay in flow. For example, they turn disagreements into something they can learn from, rather than something that will derail the partnership. People with these good connections actually want to shine a light on the positive aspects of each other, rather than complain about difficulties. Think about the partnerships you have and if they represent this uplifting vibe.
Discover ways you can become more hyper connected – Our current world is becoming an increasingly individualistic society, which fosters fear and division. This hyper individualism has resulted in racism, inequality, Putin invading Ukraine and more. For this reason, focusing on nurturing partnerships and working on being hyper connected is very important right now. If you work with others who are constantly undermining each other, bickering, and competing to be the best, think about ways to foster more collaboration. For example, Oelwang has an exercise that she does at work team meetings called “elephant, dead fish and vomit.” This practice encourages everyone to talk about the stuff everyone sees but nobody’s talking about (the elephants in the room), things that have been festering because they haven’t been addressed (the dead fish), and those issues that someone is really upset or passionate about (the vomit). Implementing a routine such as this can create a safe space of collaboration to address the uncomfortable conversations and nurture partnerships.