Our businesses need to know how to connect aspirations through a common goal. A good business knows how to respect and give credit to everyone so that the whole team can become united and aligned. In one sense it is mere cooperation, but in another it is synergy—a powerful combination of diverse personalities and expertise, which counterbalance each other.
Nature demonstrates this fact through the Redwood Forests of Northern California. These trees are the largest and oldest on our planet. For trees to grow to such heights one would expect them to have deep roots, but interestingly Redwood trees have shallow roots. How do they live for thousands of years, withstanding massive earthquakes, devastating windstorms and blizzards? How do they find support in the loose soil and hilly terrain of Northern California, growing higher and higher in all conditions?
It is explained that the roots of these trees do not reach down, but search
for roots of other trees. When the roots of two Redwood trees touch each other, they immediately embrace, wrap around each other with a permanent inseparable knot. Every root looks for another root to tie up a knot with another tree.
The small trees which are so vulnerable and just growing with their tiny roots like hair are supported by the bigger trees. In this way, every tree in the entire forest is directly or indirectly providing support to each other. Therefore, unity is our strength. The strength of human society is like that of Redwood trees. Even when trauma, disaster or any other problems enter our lives, we can remain strong if the roots of our strength are connected to each other with God at the centre. It is that spirit of love for God and compassion for each other that gives us strength individually and collectively.
Life is all about partnerships—be it between spouses, friends, or even business associates. Many relationships work, and many of them don’t. So what is it that differentiates a successful partnership from unsuccessful ones?
Chanakya gives a very clear idea about the same. He says it’s the ‘common purpose’: “Being not restricted as to place and time and because of having a common purpose, allied troops are better than alien troops.” (9.2.17)
If you look into your own life, you will find the above verse to be very true. Whenever you get a partnership offer, always think about the possibilities of failure before you strike a deal. Have an open discussion to know what is possible and what is not.
Now, without much experience, how does one decide whether a particular partnership will work well or not? Here are some thoughts you can dwell on before tying the ‘knot’:
Define Your Purpose
First things first—what do you want in life? What are your core values, purpose, goals and objectives, vision and mission? All these are very important parameters within which an individual operates. If, as an individual, you are not clear about your purpose, then you are only confusing yourself and you will end up confusing even those you work with. So define these areas well and create a road-map to achieve the targets. If you have never done this exercise, take a pen and write down your purpose in life now. It will give you a tremendous focus.
Have an Open Discussion
Once you are clear about what you want, it becomes easy to discuss your goals and objectives with another person. Have a very open discussion. As you are selling your ideas, also listen to the ideas of the person you are discussing with. Keep looking at the common objectives at a strategic level. If you find that there are areas that are common between the two of you, then there is a scope for further discussion.
Give Time to Each Other
Before you sign the MoU, give yourself some time. Think things through. Look at all the things that can possibly go wrong, as well as all those that can go right. Be realistic. Have a long-term view.
Now comes the most important part before you finally take things forward. If at the end of all this you still feel that the deal is not workable, be unemotional, and be ready to walk out. An initial uncomfortable feeling is better than suffering lifelong. In leadership and management, the most important thing is what you do not do, rather than what you do. So strike the right chord and have a wonderful partnership.
(The author is the spiritual leader of ISKCON)