Till death do us part”: for a marriage it might be a good intention to stay together for a lifetime. However, in today’s work environment that might not always be the best course to follow. In fact, lifetime employment is already something of the past. It could be that you know that for yourself already and that you have a personal strategy to move on to new challenges the moment your job is no longer to your satisfaction. The other way around should also be considered.

When working in teams, the other way around becomes then about working with the right team members to reach the goal: not necessarily sticking to the existing team members when their specialty is no longer adding value.

When working with external partners the same applies, even though you are in the partnership with the intention for the long term, you need to evaluate the sense of it and dare to end the relationship when the partnership is no longer adding value.

It sounds so logical, doesn’t it?

Still in many occasions I see that collaboration in partnerships and in teams is dragging along and management does not have the courage to open the conversation about the effectiveness of the collaboration.

In a recent masterclass we discussed such a situation with one of the participants. He was in a partnership where he was not really happy, a situation that was already going on for months. His business partner was not delivering as agreed and seemed to be lurking along, benefiting from the partnership, but not contributing.

The conversation in the class led to an “aha” moment for the participant and the next day he opened the conversation with his business partner. It turned out that the business partner also was not happy with the way they worked together and as a result of their conversation, they crafted a new way of working that both partners benefitted.

This conversation turned their partnership for the better, but sometimes it is time to say goodbye to your partner or team member and part ways. Nothing lasts forever. You probably already know when to open the discussion, the collaboration sheds instead of being smooth and you feel that something needs to be done.

Do you recognize one of these situations:

  • Is the collaboration not delivering on its promises?
  • Is your team member or partner no longer the right team member?
  • Is one of you working outside of your capabilities?
  • Has the market changed?
  • Has one of your strategies changed?
  • Is the value proposition you were working on no longer feasible?

These are some of the moments that you need to reconsider how you are working together: it is time to innovate your partnership, change your team or end the collaboration.

Don’t drag it along as the participant in the masterclass did for a while. The fact that you are not happy with the collaboration is quite likely a feeling that your partner shares. Open the conversation and define jointly what can be done. Perhaps you can find an opportunity to innovate the collaboration and turn it around in a different format. Perhaps parting ways is the best course of action. Don’t shy away from that difficult decision: changing the team and saying goodbye, can make everyone involved happier in the end.