Why I Partnered With The Person Who Hated My Brilliant Idea

This article was contributed to Forbes.com by Brian Scudamore.

“You’re nuts!” It wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for. I had just told my friend and colleague James Alisch that I wanted to start a painting franchise with a brilliant twist: we’d paint an entire home in a single day.

From my perspective, I’d just stumbled upon the next sliced bread.  But James had helped lead a prominent painting company for 14 years and knew the industry inside and out. He was not on board.

The thing about me though, is that I don’t like to be told something can’t be done … so I did it anyway. What’s even crazier is that shortly after launching, I convinced James to become the Managing Director of WOW 1 DAY PAINTING. After I showed him our killer branding and innovative business model, something suddenly clicked for him; he wanted in!

Every truly great partnership has two distinct entrepreneurial minds: the visionary and the integrator. I tend to be a visionary, seeing the big picture and creatively solving problems. As an integrator, James is the one who holds people accountable and gets things done. Contrasting strengths like these creates what Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters call “Rocket Fuel” – a powerful propellant for any business.

Look at Things From 360 Degrees

I had the idea for WOW 1 DAY PAINTING after having my own house painted in a day. As far as I could see, all homes could — and should — be painted in just one day.  In contrast, James had me rethink the logistics: painting houses on a shortened timeline (and doing it well) is a huge undertaking with lots of moving parts. He got me to slow down and get a 360 degree view of the situation; instead of just looking to the horizon and seeing only the idea’s potential, he considered the building blocks I’d missed.

Paula Abdul said, “Opposites attract” … and She Was Right

It’s one thing to say that complementary personalities make for great business partnerships; it’s another to actually get along with your opposite. Over the years, we’ve found that managing personality differences is about having insight and empathy.

To find out how people tick, we ask our employees to complete the Predictive Index, a scientific analysis that reviews cognitive ability and personality characteristics. Then we discuss the results so we understand how and why someone works.

Understanding how James processes information has helped us communicate more effectively. For example, he came to me and told me he didn’t like the name “WOW 1 DAY PAINTING”. Instead of trying to convince him otherwise, I waited it out because James is the type who needs to let ideas marinate. He had lots of questions and after several fruitful discussions eventually he came around.

Insist on Value Alignment

It can be productive to run a team or a company with someone whose style and perspective is so different from your own, but you have to align on values — or you might as well shut down now. At the end of the day, it’s crucial to trust you’re on the same page about what’s important.

Intel founders Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce had vastly different personalities and skill sets (Noyce was the visionary while Moore was the tech whiz). They both had the same goal of creating a business that would push the boundaries of innovation and Intel is now a $149 billion company.