How Travel Erodes Business Partnership Communications & What to Do about It

August 29, 2011

business partnershp communications

Business Partnership Communications

I was in a business partnership for 18 years. As I learned then and I’ve been reminded frequently as an executive coach, partnerships thrive on communication. When communication is faulty or under-nourished, mistrust grows and partnerships get strained or fail.

Sometimes a partnership clicks on all cylinders until one of the partners begins to travel frequently. Without a specific action plan to support communication during travel, miscommunications and frustrations are common.

Just because there are now so many forms of communications available doesn’t mean that you should assume communication will happen and satisfy both parties. Before one of you travels, meet to discuss hand-offs and anticipate tricky situations—situations that would ordinarily require both partners to weigh in. Next, if the trip is lengthy, schedule a mid-trip check-in. The traveler should schedule this call when there won’t be competing demands. Budget enough time so that a lengthy discussion can be had. Last, schedule a debriefing for when the trip is over.

This communication strategy seems obvious, and yet it is rarely done. What typically happens instead is that, after a lot of travel, both partners get accustomed to doing things on their own. Their communication lulls and eventually gets severely strained or fails.

What do you do to keep communication going when you’re on the road? How has it helped or hurt?

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