“No governance system of principles, rules, and checks and balance can substitute for a great partnership.” — Ray Dalio
“Although our form is corporate, our attitude is partnership. Charlie Munger and I think of our shareholders as owner-partners, and of ourselves as managing partners.” — Warren Buffett
I once asked a personal friend and work associate whether he had ever been on a great team.
I was shocked, but over time, realized he wasn’t alone.
Great partnerships — Buffett and Munger, Wooden and Kareem, Page and Brin, Weiss and Lake — are rare.
That’s why they are so valuable.
Partnerships don’t just happen. They are different than friendships, or common interests, or shared visions.
They are about band members, sure, but also about how the music is made.
Who leads and who follows. Who speaks and who listens. Who yells and who whispers. Who shows up when all is in free fall.
Partnerships are built on reliability. As Munger once said, “unreliability can cancel out all other virtues.”
Partnerships can fail for a variety of reasons: trust, communication, process, strategy, or competing personalities.
But when they work — when the impossible becomes possible — it is a thing of beauty.
If I could talk to my younger self, I would tell him to spend good, quality time finding his professional partners.
Regardless of age, it is time well spent and, if it works out, life-changing.