A founder in a start-up company was upset that her business partner had been missing deadlines and doing work that wasn’t up to snuff. My client was already good at having direct, clear conversations about expectations, so we took a deeper dive to see if we could identify an underlying pattern that might be contributing to the issue. What we discovered was that she often went into a “tell” mode (rather than “partner” mode) when working with her partner. This seemed to trigger an “appease” mode in her partner, in which the partner would agree to work even when she didn’t have the time or energy to follow through. With this insight, we identified signals that my client could be watching for to know when the “tell and appease” modes were in play, and alternative collaborative behaviors my client could use to tap into her partner’s wisdom and experience. A year later they are working well together and have taken their business to the next level of growth.

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