(Time to read this Blog is about 3.5 minutes)

  1. My Quote of the week:
    “I’m a big fan of hiring, coaching and promoting keen young talent.  But sometimes you need to hire a ‘Guide’ to get you where you need or want to be in some part of your business.
    A Guide, by definition, is someone who’s been there before…not someone who’d love to give it a try!  In what parts of your biz should you be hiring a Guide?”
    …Donald Cooper.

The Donald Cooper 6-Star
‘Accelerate Your Business’
Boot Camp Cruise – March 13, 2023


I first had this idea years ago and never found the right partners to create an amazing, transformational experience and value.  Now, it’s coming together.  Here’s the scoop…

  1. What: A 10-day Caribbean Cruise on the 6-Star, all-inclusive Regent 7 Seas Navigator combined with a Donald Cooper ‘Accelerate Your Business’ 6-Session Boot Camp…plus several opportunities for 1-on1 and small-group coaching.

Bonus: This transformational program includes 4 monthly follow-up strategy & implementation Zoom Sessions with Donald following the cruise to make sure that real progress is being made.   

  1. When: Departs Miami Monday, March 13, 2023 on the 490 passenger 7-Seas Navigator.  Strictly limited to 20 businesses.
  2. The incredible deal: By partnering with the experts at Cruise Connections (Canada’s largest cruise-only travel agent) and 6-star Regent Cruise Lines, this amazing ‘all-inclusive’ 10-day cruise and transformational Management Boot Camp is just $5,399 Cdn per person for a Deluxe Veranda Suite (for our American fans, that’s about $3,800 US) plus $2,800 for the entire Boot Camp Program.
    Spouses are invited to attend the Boot Camp Sessions at no additional charge.
    This fee includes return air fare to Miami, all Shore Excursions, all specialty dining, unlimited complimentary beverages of all kinds, all gratuities, free internet and cancelation insurance.  For more information about the ship, the cruise itinerary and the incredible all-inclusive cruise package go to Cruise Connections
    Note:  This past Spring, Wanda and I did a 20-day Mediterranean cruise on the sister ship of the 7 Seas Navigator. It was remarkable in every way.  You’ll learn much about the value of high standards and delivering extraordinary customer experiences, just from being on the ship. 
  3. For whom is this Program designed? This highly interactive Program is specially created for the owners and senior

managers of businesses doing from $5 million to $80 million in sales who want to sell more, manage smarter, build a stronger and more accountable team, grow their bottom line…and have a life!

I’ve worked successfully with businesses in over 40 industries throughout the world, so my insights and strategies are absolutely universal as to industry and geography.

Note:  If your business is a partnership or family business, you may want to have more than one couple attend, if it’s in the budget.  Although I’m not an accountant, because of the intensive business content being delivered, I believe that this is a legitimate business expense.  Ask your accountant.

Click Here to download the complete Info Sheet for this extraordinary Cruise Boot Camp Program…or call me in Toronto at 416-252-3703. 


Now, to this week’s important topic:

Why so many partnerships and family businesses struggle or fail:

Note:  The term ‘partnership’, as used here, includes family businesses.  A ‘family business’ is simply a partnership where blood boils at room temperature.  

When business partnerships do work, it’s magical. Partners complement each other, support each other and cover off for each other.  That’s not ‘compliment’ each other as in, “That’s a lovely jacket you’re wearing today, Bob.” but rather they ‘complement’ each other in that their diverse skills, experience and personalities work well together to create a stronger, more successful business.

But when partnerships don’t work, it’s a nightmare.  Much of my coaching work is in figuring out what’s not working in dysfunctional partnerships and family businesses…and how to fix it.

So, here’s what I’ve discovered.  For any partnership or family business to work, there are six key elements that must be aligned.  They are:

  1. A shared Vision for the future of the business,
  2. Shared values for the business, and for their lives,
  3. A shared commitment to the business,
  4. Confidence in each other’s competence,
  5. Rapport with each other’s personality and a commitment to work together.
  6. The ability and willingness to have ‘respectful debates’ and ‘courageous conversations’ among partners or family members…and at all levels in the business.

There’s a seventh key factor that can, and often does, destroy a partnership or family business. That’s when, in spite of the competence and commitment of the younger generation, the older generation simply won’t give up control because they have nothing else to do with their lives.  The business is their ‘neat fort’ where they feel safe, comfortable and in control…and they won’t let go. 

When a partnership or family business is falling apart it’s almost always because some of these key factors.  There’s constant turmoil, employees are forced to take sides, or take ‘I don’t give a dam’ pills.  The best people often leave, and it’s a mess.

When partners or family members can’t agree, one of these three scenarios usually develops:

Scenario #1:  Because the partners can’t agree on what should be done, or how to move the business forward, they do nothing.  The business struggles, loses momentum and grinds to a halt.  The staff becomes disengaged, the good ones leave and, eventually, it all ends badly.  

Scenario #2:  Because the partners can’t agree on what to do, they compromise and go with a ‘grey’, boring, watered-down course of action.  In a world where we need to be extraordinary, focused and clear in our market positioning and operational decision making, compromise can be deadly.

Going back to my days as a retailer of ladies fashion, let’s say that we decided to put chairs throughout the store for husbands and boyfriends, who would rather relax than shop in a ladies clothing store.  And let’s say that I wanted to be amazing by buying 8 electric, reclining massage chairs, but my partner protested, “Chairs are a fine idea, but over my dead body will we spend money on fancy massage chairs.”  So, we compromise and bring a couple of old bean bag chairs from home and stick them in the corner.  There goes ‘amazing’ right out the window.  “Yes”, compromise can be deadly.

Scenario #3:  The third scenario is what I call the alternating ‘it’s my turn plan’.  Here’s how this one works.  Because we can’t agree on what to do, we each take turns getting our way.  “We did it your way last time, so now it’s my turn.”  It isn’t about what’s right, amazing or best for the business.  It’s about whose ‘turn’ it is to get their way.

And, the universe being as perverse as it is, we’ll likely end up being wrong most of the time …but it doesn’t matter, “It’s my turn.”

If you’ve been involved in a partnership or family business, you know I’m right about these 3 scenarios, because you’ve probably seen them, or lived through them, many times.  If partners can’t work well together and are constantly falling into one of these three deadly scenarios, they need to face reality that the partnership isn’t working, the business is going down the tubes and it’s time to deal with it by writing up the most civilized ‘divorce’ agreement possible…and go their separate ways.

Bonus TipBy the way, exactly the same dynamic happens with couples and families.  If they can’t agree on where to live, what furniture to buy, what color to paint the walls, or how to raise the kids, they either do nothing, they compromise on some boring, watered-down solution, or they go on the “It’s my turn to get my way.” plan.  Don’t let this happen to your business or your life!


That’s it for this week…

Stay safe…live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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