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🔥 10 things we learnt about how to be better co-founders

Hope you’re having a relaxing weekend.

I wanted to share some reflections from last Friday’s Fireside show where Beccie D’Cunha — a mediator, coach and the founder of Courage Lab – coached us live through our Lumina Spark portrait assessments.

Lumina Spark is a tool that Beccie uses as part of her coaching toolkit that helps us to listen inward and outward — to discover self and the other.

Why did we do this?

Well as Beccie said “We need to work on our relationships, not just in them.”

Carlos and I have run businesses together since 2004 (The Happy Startup School since 2012), and have been friends for close to 40 years.

Despite our fears of doing a session like this in public, Beccie made it very enjoyable, we got some great engagement and learnt lots about ourselves and each other. 💪🏻

🔥 Beccie’s reflections on this session:

  1. Strong relationships require us to balance authenticity with adaptability — staying true to ourselves while empathising with the other and trying to meet their needs too.
  2. Play to your strengths but don’t get stuck in them — sometimes we need to stretch ourselves in new areas too.
  3. Psychological opposites can attract but it takes hard work, common values and trust to harness differences.
  4. Our personalities are not fixed forever — our tendencies can evolve and adapt as our self knowledge and trust of the other grows.
  5. There is no perfect personality combination — what is most important in a partnership is the willingness to do the work to explore personality difference.
  6. Conflict is riskier when we care about someone.
  7. The things we resist are often the things that make our ideas and relationships stronger.
  8. Understanding our personality differences helps us translate what’s in our head into language that the other person can understand.
  9. Give each other the benefit of the doubt.
  10. Trust takes time and vulnerability — a willingness to work hard to share our strengths and struggles with each other.

And some more specifics for Carlos and I to work on:

  • Keep up the regular communication to stop any potential conflict festering
  • Freedom is important to both of you. Carlos ‘craves freedom from a place of safety and structure’ — he loves ideas but prefers to launch them from a solid base. Laurence likes to take a leap of faith and thrives on new experiences.
  • You needed more explicitly defined roles at the start of your business relationship but you’ve now found a groove and can work more organically together. For example, Carlos is now happier going with the flow and Laurence is now happier justifying why to do something.
  • You’ve moved beyond caricatures and realised that sometimes you can step into what the other does well too, even if it comes less naturally to you.
  • Try to adapt but not too much that it takes the fun out of it.
  • Praise — both of you need feedback and praise but you seek it in different ways and from different places. This is partly shaped by introversion and extroversion. Laurence seeks it from a smaller number of people who he trusts, so Carlos’ (authentic!) praise is particularly important. Carlos often receives recognition from a wider circle of people.
  • Creativity is important to both of you but you express it in different ways.
  • Play and experimentation is as crucial in your relationship as in your business. Keep experimenting playfully in terms of dialling up or down your qualities, the roles you take on, how you communicate with each other.
  • Values have been the bedrock in your partnership. Play, learning and friendship have shaped your approach to exploring your personalities too.
  • Common ground — you both share a love of hosting and both share a ‘collaborative’ quality. You also both enjoy big picture thinking (Laurence’s ‘radical’ and Carlos’s ‘conceptual’)
  • You are very different — for example, Carlos focuses more on logic, evidence, tangible outcomes (‘what’s the point? What’s the business case?’) Laurence focuses more on ideas, vision, intuition (‘I have faith it will work, if feels right’)
  • But you’ve learnt to harness these differences — for example, Laurence having to sell his ideas to Carlos puts them to the test. Carlos having to leap with Laurence sometimes has lead to amazing new experiences.

Thanks so much to Beccie for taking the time to run this session and share these reflections!

Beccie is looking for 12 Courageous Leaders that want to level up their leadership from good to great. Her first group coaching program starts in May and runs for 8 weeks. Learn more about the program

🎥 Watch the Fireside replay on Crowdcast

ps. If you want a great book to read on building a successful co-founding team check out Rocket Fuel

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