The Quattrain Christmas message

Quattrain is just over a year old, and in the Christmas spirit, it seemed like a good point to reflect on what it’s been like working in partnership with four women. By its nature this post will be more personal than some of our other offerings, and for those of you who know us, you can play a fun game of “guess the partner”.

A Christmas message from all at Quattrain

Quattrain is just over a year old, and in the Christmas spirit, it seemed like a good point to reflect on what it’s been like working in partnership with four women. By its nature this blog will be more personal than some of our other offerings (you can catch up on the Quattrain blog here), and for those of you who know us, you can play a fun game of “guess the partner.

I have to admit, at first I was sceptical about entering into a partnership. I knew one of the potential partners well — we had job-shared in various roles across the BBC for many years, and I realised early on job-sharing would be different from other working relationships when my partner’s leg-wax appointment first popped up into my calendar.

We knew we worked well together, and complimented each other’s styles and personalities. Most importantly, we trusted each other – without question.

But what about the others?

I knew both other partners to varying degrees, and thought they were two very impressive women (intimidatingly so, if I’m to be fully honest). They had a reputation for having tough business minds, enormous leadership experience, and excellent coaching and training skills. Would they let me into their gang? Would it all be a bit too… serious? And, most importantly, could we trust each other?

So far, the experience has exceeded my expectations, and for what it’s worth I think Quattrain is a great example of women working well in business together. So for those of you — men and women alike — who are considering partnerships, here are my tips based on our “story so far.”

Find the right partners

This should be obvious, but I can’t stress it enough. You need to know that the people you work with will bring something valuable to the team. The right mix of personality types and skills is important. Liking your partners helps, but above all, you need to trust them. Which leads me to the next point…

Have a lot of lunches

I’m not going to say something crass and silly here, like women are inherently social (men are too, after all). But it very much helped, in our early stages, to get to know each other informally, over lunch, and yes, sometimes, drinks. So, while I now know much more about the partners’ business and training skills, I know other things about them too, from holidays, to house moves, to children, and the people in their lives they care for. Knowing each other more personally has helped cement the bond of trust between us.

Get a good lawyer

If you’ve ever considered getting married, you’ll eventually sign a legal document. Why would you treat your professional relationships with any less seriousness? And what happens if anyone wants a divorce?

Getting legal advice on the shape of the partnership, and clear ground rules as to how we wanted to work together, was invaluable, and resulted in a partnership agreement which we have all signed up to and binds us by law.

Understand each others’ values

The importance of shared values emerged during our discussions over our partnership agreement. We needed to make sure that our business aligned with our values, and that these values were shared.

Assign roles

Everyone in the partnership should have a clear idea of what they’re doing. In the early days, there may be a fair amount of work chasing contracts which, at first, will be unpaid. For the partnership to be fair, it’s important everyone feels the burden is shared.

Do what you love

Starting up in business is hard work. A lot of graft goes into chasing new contracts, networking, and putting business systems in place. For all this hard work to be worth it, it has to be enjoyable. I love being in the training room helping people learn, and I’m lucky enough to be working with three other talented women who enjoy what we do as much as I do.

Thanks, Caroline, Rosie and Natasha, you’ve been generous, cooperative and inspiring. And happy Christmas to everyone we’ve worked with, mentored and trained in this last year.