How to Form a Great Partnership


Partnerships are important part of business as well as ministry. Great partners can help you grow while a bad one can be the death of a dream. While we can easily form a partnership, it takes a long time to break one apart, sometimes with dire consequences. Here’s what I consider before going into a partnership with an individual or organization.

partnership success

Trust. If there’s no trust then you should never, ever go into any kind of partnership. If you get the feeling that the other party is waiting for you to mess up so they can get the upper hand on any situation, run for the hills.

Respect. Whether it be business or personal, if you don’t respect the leader of an organization, then you shouldn’t create any kind of partnership, no matter how beneficial it looks on the onset. Once, I went to work for a man because I thought I could “bypass” my own lack of respect for him. Big mistake.

Different skills. Find people and organizations that bring different skills to the partnership. If you bring the same skills to the table, you might not have a partner but a competitor.

Compromise. No one gets everything they want. That’s just life. If you or your potential partner cannot compromise on the onset, you’re doomed.

Defining the win. Wins can be vastly different even for people working on the same venture. Don’t assume that your partner’s win is the same as yours. Understand what they value and what they want out of the partnership. Managing expectations is critical in any relationship.

Exit strategy. Nothing lasts forever. Even the best of friends often grow apart and move on. It’s imperative to have a clear, well-documented exit strategy for both parties. That’s where a good lawyer is worth every penny you pay.

What else you add or change on this list?

  • Anonymous

    All good points. Clear vision and objectively measurable outcomes provide the basis for a partnership’s structure, as well as for the sense of fulfillment and basis of success. Warm “fuzzies” and good fellowship aren’t enough, are they?

    I would add that effective partnership is a process, not an event. Building consensus and trusting relationships takes time. The bigger the challenge, the longer the process may be.

    • Maurilio

      Good insight. Gordon.

    • I agree with Gordon about the timing, but this is ‘oh so hard’ in this fast paced world.

  • My thanks for the succinct way you’ve opened the door for people to think about effective partnership, Maurilio.

    We at visionSynergy are developing and training global Christian leaders in collaboration principles and skills. One of our prime resources is now available free as a full-version, downloadable PDF ebook of Phill Butler’s “Well Connected” – a definitive handbook for Christian ministry collaboration. We invite you and your readers to get the book at

    Dave Hackett

  • The respect point is huge. If you can’t respect the person you are partnering with, you shouldn’t do it, because eventually, that lack of respect will turn into judgement and cause division that your team might not be able to recover from.

    • That’s so true. If you don’t respect someone, you should not be in business with that person or even work for them.

  • I would add shared values… many partnerships have respect, complimenting skills etc but not shared values. Both parties must be candid about their non-negotiables and this includes values.

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