When you find yourself out of the raft in whitewater rapids without your paddle, a lot of things go through your mind. The first thought is to save your ass. The second is to save your partner’s ass and get back in the boat. In business and in life you often find yourself outside the safety of your raft and in some cases the paddle is beyond reach too. That’s when you need a partner. A good partner!
When the opportunity to bring such a partner on board OpenMoves presented itself two years ago, my coach strongly advised against it. From her experience, partnerships rarely work out and she didn’t see the point of sharing what I worked so hard to build. ” It’s risky business… just like a marriage, but without the benefits”. Hmmm…
The process of creating an acceptable prenuptial partnership agreement is filled with spreadsheets, legal documents and insurance policies all desperately trying to answer the what-if questions and give you an illusion of control. Since I’m not genetically designed to absorb too many details or numbers, I instinctively distill complexities to their simplest forms. In this case when the lawyers finished their dance and it was time to sign the dotted line, it came down to my expedition experience, not my business one that helped me take a decisive stand.
When you travel by trail, sail, reef, rapid, road, paddle, wheel or foot, you rely on your partners for everything including your life. This is where your skill at picking the right ones get honed. You need to decide which are good for a laugh and which you can count on when a storm sets in, which are givers and which are takers, which doddle and which get it done, which hover and which give you room to run. I’ve practiced this skill over many self propelled miles and I’m pretty good at putting together and keeping a team. And at the end of the day, OpenMoves is no different than an expedition except here we scale trends not granite peaks.
After 10 years of navigating the OpenMoves boat through the rapids, it was time to bring on a co-captain to help shoulder the load and steer us in new directions. Amir is the guy. For starters, we share the same values, goals and the love of good humus.
So when our lawyer scooted the agreement over to my side of the table, I signed it knowing that most likely I’ll never look at the agreement again. Whatever challenges maybe be thrown our way, we have the tools and trust to work it out. The partnership is working. OpenMoves has doubled in size, added new services and is more global and versatile. I think part of the magic is that we operate in an ego free zone, we focus on taking care of our clients and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but I get ahead of myself.
By the looks of the picture above, our first challenge as partners wasn’t looking particularly promising with both of us out of the raft; Amir underwater and our paddles floating down river, but our mates pulled us out of the rapids and into the boat and soon enough we were united and heading down river and around the bend.