Don’t we all know these names; Bill and Melinda Gates, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Munroe, Fela and Tara Durotoye, Joke Silva and Olu Jacobs, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Barrack and Michelle Obama, Bonnie and Clyde, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, Julius Caesar and Cleoptra, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Where am I driving at?
These people are unusual; they built romance and empires together. Discussing strategy and romance, merging love and business is most time a weird mix. The truth is, in business being deeply loved by someone while growing your enterprise gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage. But being in the wrong tangle will kill both and it will affect your business.
Extrinsic strategies are taught in business schools but intrinsic battles fought in the chambers of our heart can ruin the most solid strategy. In line with this, I’d like to look at how romantic relationships affect Business. I used to always say, that in the next ten years, the two things that can only change a man’s destiny is the people he meets and the books he reads. And then a client added the third one, saying, “the person you end up with as a spouse”. As entrepreneurs and professionals with the right one, we find balance, we act and think better. But with the wrong person, romance becomes reduced to an expensive hobby that drains your energy and it can affect the quality of your outputs.
As a business consultant with clients who are a couple, I sometimes sit in for dinners and then subliminally I have my thoughts and my heart play John Gottman (the psychologist, John Gottman can listen to a couple for 5 minutes and determine, with 91% accuracy, whether they can be successful together and whether they’ll be divorced in the next 5 years). He looks out for interests in vision, and how they carry out and manage criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling during conversations. This isn’t something entrepreneurs manage well and something they have to be open to or even have to give up.
Love and romance in its naked form is giving up a part of you or giving someone the power to hurt you in return for just a feeling, a dream, a wish and a hope that he/she won’t. Its effect is timeless for most people have got their heads cut off. This is typically what happens when we become the wrong person or we give the wrong people the right power to hurt us all in the name of love.
While business, finance and love can be parallel and most people have learnt to keep it that way. And instead use one to get and manage the other. That’s a typical trajectory, even shown consistently in history including most of the stories in our holy books. I had a good laugh when pastor at a church I attended told all the young men in love and wanted to get married to come out for “anointing for marriage”, as the men rushed out, he asked all those without a job to go back. While one facilitates the other, being in parallel is a skill only a few can have or manage.
A few weeks into my marriage, I and my wife had an argument. After a few back and forth, I knew I had to apologize. So while at it, I held her hands, looking deeply into her eyes, I said to her “there’s really nothing we both can’t achieve if we giveourselves peace and support”. That state of mind is priceless. And it’s great if a lot more people can have that. It’s still a guiding ideology. I still feel that romance and business shouldn’t be parallel and that your partner should be that which makes success and greatness easier for both of you to achieve, together. For me, chemistry was never enough. In a relationship, one person should not be significantly smarter, wealthier or more influential. That is not called relationship, it is called parasitism. Power couples are powerful. Every generation needs them to inspire better families and to create a set of cumulative advantages for the coming generation. But they don’t come ready made or serve a la carte. You have to intentionally choose your mix or even create it.
There are steps to building strategies for building a business alongside a balanced romance life. You’ve got to have core values agreeable and biding by both parties. There has to be a structure and routine for it too. Beyond emotions, you’ve got to be at a certain level too. I’d tell you what, if you need a certain type or category of person in your life, then you yourself have to be at some certain point too to start with, perhaps fit or meet certain criteria also. Just like for an organization to grow there has to be culture fit and strategic fit, same is applicable here. Just like in an enterprise system, the brand has to define its core values and let that inspire its hires. Culture fit then is defined as the collection of the various individual’s attitudes, values and beliefs being in line with the core values and culture of an organization. That convergence has to be there. While strategic fit is defined as the degree to which an organization is matching its internal resources and capabilities with the opportunities in the external environment. That has to be there too. It’s easier when there are tangible assets that may have been developed even before the union or at least while in it. This why progress and personal development is key. You want a queen, then you must have developed a level of kingship first.
Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Munroe, Jay-z and Beyonce, Bonnie and Clyde, Obama and Michelle,Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, Julius Caesar and Cleoptra, Bill and Hillary Clinton are just my case study out of the not so many people who have succeeded in being brands of both success and love as their lifestyle explains how a complete life requires you having someone that can complement your drive without a decline. To them, a great marriage and career can be merged, and also as a great marriage and relationship isn’t far from having a smart, skilled and successful partner who loves and respect you so much without being too mushy to the point of complete dependency, perhaps its best to have someone that can complement your speed, success.
Let’s explore a few love stories for business starting with Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962), American motion-picture actor, who became the most famous Hollywood actress and international sex symbol of the 20th century. Born Norma Jean Mortenson in Los Angeles, the daughter of an emotionally unstable mother, she spent a troubled childhood in foster homes and orphanages and at the age of 16 entered into an ill-fated marriage. In 1944, while working in a defense plant, she was noticed by a United States Army photographer who induced her to pose for posters for the troops. Instantly popular as a model, Monroe soon found other assignments and registered with a modeling agency, which sent her to charm school and put her on a number of magazine covers and then she became unstoppable ever after while rising to being the biggest Hollywood star of all time and it even got better when she fell in love with Joe DiMaggio who was perhaps one of the biggest baseball player of that time.
On a more serious context will be examples of board rooms and government houses. Take for example, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Or better yet, Obama and Michelle in comparison to Donald Trump and Melania. While Obama met Michelle in a corporate setting, in an office while Donald Trump met Melania at a party. Michele was introduced to Obama, and she was instructed to become Obama’s mentor at work. On the other hand Trump cross carpeted from the original supermodel she was introduced to at the party to the finer girl next to her even though he came with another date, the finer lady next to the supermodel refers to Melania, today’s FLOTUS. While Obama and Michelle’s marriage is that of mutual support of a grass to grace story of two people who stood beside each other and are today a power couple, I stumbled upon an honest interview given by Donald Trump’s wife that sums up a different dynamics. The interview asked Melania Tump an incredibly impertinent question, “Would you have married him if he weren’t wealthy?” during a TV interview. And she smiled and replied, “Would he have married me if I were not beautiful?”
In today’s world of feminism and feminist movement, we are caught up in a choice between equality and equity. Either way, to create better families and business side to side, we need more power couples. A “Power Couple is a term that’s often used to describe those extremely rare couples who transcended beyond a normal, safe, comfortable relationship, to a partnership that brings out the highest potential in each individual and their successes.
They lift each other up in every area of their lives, from their business, to health, to spirituality, to connection, to happiness. And they seem to have the kind of energy together that you can sense the moment they walk into a room.
It’s an absolutely amazing relationship to see and experience. But to achieve this, they must get to that point where they can brain storm together, they exercise together, they support each other, and they avoid limelight as much as they can while together, they have their backs. You should find one or recreate what you currently have. I believe we need that to create better empires and family systems.
Strategy. Business StartUps and Corporate Restructuring Consulting
Uwaoma Eizu is the lead strategist at Hexavia! He is a graduate of Mathematics with two MBAs and over a decade of experience working with startups and big businesses. His core is in building startups and in corporate restructuring. He is also a certified member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria and the Project Management Institute, USA. By the side, he writes weekly for the BusinessDay newspaper.