This past weekend was very special in my hometown.
My city - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - played host to the LPGA (ladies golf) - the CP Women's Open. This world class tournament was hosted at the Ottawa Hunt Club where I was lucky enough to attend (for two days) as a spectator.
If you know anything about women's golf, more specifically if you know anything about Canadian women's golf, you will undoubtedly know the name Brooke Henderson. Brooke has become an international golf superstar. She grew up a short distance from here in the town of Smith Falls. Needless to say Brooks' Brigade was out in full force. It was easy to spot where she was on the course because a sea of red followed her everywhere she went.
Now you might think this article is about women's golf. I can assure you it is not.
The inspiration for this article was prompted by a special encounter I had with Brittany Henderson. ( see my selfie below) In case you don't know, Brittany Henderson is Brooke's caddie. She also happens to be her older sister.
This experience caused me to think deeply about the power of great Partnerships. You know the type of partnerships I'm talking about, where there is ultimate trust, respect, great compatibility, and just a good flow of energy.
The Henderson sister partnership is a powerhouse one worth dissecting. From the outside looking in, this partnership looks very much in sync. What is it like in "real life" behind the scenes?
This is the concept that I wish to explore further. We know darn well that great partnerships take work - they don't "just happen".
I want to shine a spotlight on all of those hard-working people who make the magic happen behind the scenes. You know the type that I mean. The sous chef in the five star restaurant, the background singers to the Popstar, the pit crew chief to the Superstar race car driver. You get the idea. For me, these are the people in the shadows that are truly invaluable and without them - nothing happens. I also find this group of people to be incredibly selfless and very inspiring.
So, as we head into the fall, it begs the question... Are you thinking about the value of the new partnerships that you are about to engage in? Are you being strategic about how you want this opportunity to unfold? There are so many new beginnings that are about to happen and it would be a shame to miss the opportunity to make them truly remarkable.
Here are a few big ideas to get you thinking about how you want this to go. The context is irrelevant. It doesn't matter if you're a teacher, support staff, parent, student, boss, employee, etc... These ideas all apply.
About communication - how do you want this to go? What is the process that you have devised or developed to handle disagreements or misunderstandings with your partner? What weekly or daily schedules (check ins) are in place in order to ensure common understanding? When, why & how often do you have to check in with your partner?
About collaboration - do you have true collaboration in your new partnership? Or, does this look more like cooperation? Rest assured, that these two terms do not mean the same thing?
About energy - do you want your new partnership to give a positive vibe or negative one? What steps will you take to be sure that the energy feels right? And, that it isn't something that becomes a strain on a daily basis.
About trust - will this be a topic that you address directly? Or, will you leave it open to assumptions or interpretations? How does this get built and how does this get modelled?
About compatibility - how will you know where each of you stands on a particular issue or problem? Is it your hope that your new partner will be someone who has the same views and values that you do? Or, do you work better when you have someone who has opposing points of view?
About culture & values - how will you enter into this conversation? Before you can articulate this to another person who is your partner, you must know for your own self your view on the type of school or company (or family) culture you want to establish. How will you communicate these culture expectations to other professionals that work with you?
About disagreements - what mechanism is in place to have robust and private conversations when the two of you do not agree? Who will be the final decision maker? Is this understood or implied?
Again, I think you get the idea. There are countless other aspects that we could add to this list.
True partnerships require many components for alignment and success. They also ebb and flow over time.
The "behind the scenes" always keeps me curious. I'm such a sucker for a good backstory. I also always appreciate those men and women who are often not in the public eye (or spotlight.) Most of the time, they are quietly working their butts off in the background to make the magic happen.
So, let's take some great lessons away from the Henderson sisters. While Brooke is definitely the woman in the spotlight, none of it happens without Brittany by her side.
That's all I have for now.
( btw - the images used in this article were taken by me. One of the amazing fan experiences of attending professional golf - you get access to the players close up - especially on practise days. For example, the selfie of Brittany and I was taken during the Tuesday practise round. The pic below of Brit and Brooke was taken during the Friday tournament round)