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5 Tips For Low-Stress Teamwork

Sure, working solo suits some people just fine. Not us! Our teamwork began with a book project, and it was so fun, we kept right on going. Being partners (from 30+ years now) has been a huge boost professionally and personally: to have someone there as you nurture a new venture, to be your cheerleader.

Plus when the going gets tough we have someone to vent to. But like any important relationship, teaming up as business partners requires some ground rules. Here, our success secrets – they apply to most professions:

  1. Be transparent. Make decisions about shared work together, from minutiae to major issues. Agree early on about rules for any separate assignments you might want to pursue—no cutting side deals on what could be shared work.
  2. Bag the ego. Critique each other’s ideas and work, but be kind, use humor to diffuse tension and know how to say “Sorry!” If an issue arises, tackle it immediately, just like in a healthy marriage or relationship.
  3. Recognize each other’s talents and divide work accordingly. One of us is better at writing pitches; the other relishes public speaking. Differences strengthen a partnership and result in a better product.
  4. Share fame, blame and dough. We split everything no matter who brings in an assignment or does more work: It all evens out. We take licks together rather than finger point, and share success.
  5. Celebrate the union. Recognize the pro’s of having someone to brainstorm and share the load with. Sure, issues crop up, but our priority is to be a professional two-some. We remind ourselves of that regularly.

–Barbara Ballinger and Margaret Crane

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