Monday, April 12, 2010

Marathon Partnership

Have you ever noticed how much our culture focuses far too heavily on the one?

The CEO, the MVP, the leading man or lady.

But the fact is, none of us work alone, and we all do better when we work with others.

Much better.

Sir Edmund Hillary didn't climb Everest alone in 1953. He was joined at the hip with Tenzing Norgay.

Bill Gates had Paul Allen. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Bill Hewlett had David Packard.

Mick Jagger had Keith Richards. Jimmy Page had Robert Plant. Steven Tyler had Joe Perry.

Wayne Gretzky had Mark Messier. Michael Jordan had Scottie Pippen. Joe Montana had Jerry Rice.

Brooks had Dunn, Sonny had Cher and Oprah still has Gayle.

Study the pattern of every great individual success story and you will discover a hidden story of collaboration.

Call it the "POWER OF 2".

But why do some partnerships succeed while others fail?

After five years of research, Gallup experts Rodd Wagner and Dr. Gale Muller crack the code for creating the most successful partnerships with POWER OF 2: How to Make the Most of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life. As they explain in their best-selling book, Wagner and Muller discovered, "In the workplace, employees with just one collaborative relationship are 29% more likely to say they will stay with their company for the next year and 42% more likely to intend to remain with their current employer for their entire career, compared to those with no partnerships." Those who are well-partnered are also much more engaged: "They generate higher customer scores and better safety, retention, creativity, productivity, and profitability for the business -- and a greater level of happiness for themselves."

Such partnerships are all too rare.

In fact, Wagner and Muller found 16% of us report they don't have a partnership at work, and nearly one-quarter say they've never had a great partnership at work. Perhaps it's because of a cultural bias that leads us to believe a person has to be all things to all people. Be good with math. Be a good writer. A good speaker with excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Be a good project manager, strategist, prioritizer and planner.

But have you noticed, human nature just doesn't work that way. Most people have some of those abilities but not all of them. And if you really stop to look around, you will discover, more often than not, one of your colleagues will possess a missing piece of the puzzle you lack.

For Terry, three decades ago, that missing piece was Doug Alward.

It is only appropriate we're talking about Doug today and the collaborative effort he brought to one of the greatest accomplishments this country has ever witnessed. Exactly 30 years ago today, Doug went along for the ride with his best friend and watched a Marathon of Hope unfold when Terry dipped his toe into bone-chilling waters in St. John's, Newfoundland. Doug wasn't in it for the glory and he didn't do the type of work Terry did, but he was there collaborating and contributing every step of the way before the final race was run that September in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

POWER OF 2 partnerships are rare.

But, not impossible.

"I know that you can do the impossible”

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