Since my creative collaboration with Anja has become more formalised and we have become a proper working unit to concentrate on making films together – take a look at: KerstenWoods Productions, I have been pondering on the nature of what constitutes a great partnership.
In essence, a partnership is an arrangement where two or more people agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests, and as we go through life, we may experience many different kinds of working relationships. However, in any sort of partnership – whether it be a business partnership; creative collaboration – such as KerstenWoods; or a political alliance such as the current, Liberal / Conservative one; even entering into a formal marriage is a business contract as such – there are many factors that may need to be considered: levels of give-and-take, areas of responsibility, as well as areas of authority and possible succession. (Interesting one if you are in a marriage partnership, as there doesn’t seem to be a built in ‘get-out’ clause!) According to David Parrish, in his T-Shirts and Suits approach to creative business development, one of the most important considerations in creating a business formula is how ‘success’ is defined by all the members of the partnership. If goals are not shared, there is sure to be many differences along the way which could spell potential trouble.
Differences, quirks and foibles are of course, what sets us, as individuals, apart from each other, and when put into a business mix, it boils down to how well matched you are and how those individual personalities manage to ‘rub’ along together. For some this could be hard work, for others a sheer delight. It is often true that two or more heads are so often better than one, to thrash out ideas, even celebrate milestones. It’s as much about relishing shared passions as it is about celebrating differences. However, there is a very real danger that one personality may become more dominant than another, carrying the risk that the less forceful individual collapses themselves into a partnership by surrendering part of their own personality. I say, beware the silent partner! But sometimes this might be the most diplomatic thing to do. The wisest way to avoid a conflict comes from John Bayley, about his marriage to Iris Murdoch, “growing closer and closer apart”. How apt is that!