When it comes to issues with your partner, whether that it’s marriage or in business, knowing who has the final say on a particular issue is hugely important. In my experience, this can be difficult to sort out in a marriage (you both have equal ownership in home, your children, etc), but can be a little easier in business.
In the case of GreenMellen, it’s been relatively easy between Ali and I. Not that the journey has always been perfect, but we’ve never had a major disagreement because we know who has the final say in any given situation. For us, Ali gets the nod when it comes to design (both for creative output and people), I get the nod for hardware and technology, and the rest falls into place with our tightly-aligned morals.
This came to mind while reading the excellent book “Unreasonable Hospitality“, where author Will Guidara shared this thought regarding desserts that they served:
Sometimes, the only way to proceed in pursuit of a good partnership is to decide that whoever cares more about the issue can have their way. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about how many desserts we served—when you’re intense and detail-oriented, everything matters. But it was more important to Daniel than it was to me.
In reframing how Ali and I split our issues, “whoever cares more about the issue” fits rather well and I think that’s essentially what we’ve done all along. She is passionate about great design, and I’m passionate about effective tools, and we both get our way.
However you split it up, having clearly-defined buckets for “who owns what” will make life so much easier as issues arise over the years. If you don’t yet have a clear way to break things down, Will’s idea of “whoever cares more” could be a great place to start.