“When it comes to going into business with your spouse, don’t let other people discourage you,” says Margie Blanchard, Ph.D, a business owner, management consultant and trainer, best-selling author, entrepreneur, and speaker. Margie is co-owner of The Ken Blanchard Companies®, a management consulting and training company she founded with her husband in 1979.
“There are a lot of great stories about couples working together. I would not get discouraged, but I would get organized,” she says. In our final blog post featuring Margie’s insights on going into business with a spouse, she shares one of the biggest secrets to her success working alongside Ken over the years.
Give Each Other the Benefit of the Doubt
In our previous posts, Margie shared how defining your purpose and vision for going into business together, sharing your strengths (and how they relate to responsibilities), and adding structure to support your relationship are some of the ways her and Ken have found success while being business partners. In this post, Margie shares another lesson: the power of giving your partner the benefit of the doubt.
There are 4 values that have helped guide their company’s growth, says Margie: ethical behavior, relationships, success, and learning. Since those values can be in dynamic tension with one another, mistakes will be made and there will be failure along the way.
Because of that, it helps to give yourself, and your spouse, trust and grace as much as possible.
“Treat each other with grace and respect,” says Margie, who says it can be a powerful tool in problem-solving and working together as a unified team. “The most wonderful thing is to give the benefit of the doubt to other people, then you can give it to yourself—because this is a pioneering journey. Almost all small companies are pioneering. Nobody wrote the manual for them. They’re trying to figure this out themselves.”
Put Your Marriage First
For Margie, this approach also aligns with putting her marriage first. “And you’ve got to remember you’re both on the same side. You’re working for the same ‘why.’ I think that’s very, very important.”
Margie says the benefits of working with your spouse—having a common goal, meeting each other’s colleagues, and celebrating successes together—bring a tremendous amount of shared joy. “We have over 300 people working for us now, and when I see miracles happening, we both can enjoy those people,” she says. “There really are some great benefits from knowing the same colleagues and being involved in the same purpose.”
Understand the ‘Why’ Behind Your Thoughts, Emotions & Actions
Manage your values and learn to flourish consistently, no matter what life may throw your way. Attend the Shifting Energy to Lead Change with your business partner to learn a process that will allow you to be a more conscious, authentic, and consistent leader. Together, you can take your leadership to the next level and provide more value to your work.