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The Partnership Mindset—A Relationship Superpower

Those who pay a lot of attention to other people’s positions, titles, accomplishments, or money unknowingly create a gap in those potential partnerships. Shannon Waller instead sees all people, no matter their status, as potential collaborators. Listen as Shannon explains how to unlock the superpower that creates teamwork opportunities with anyone.

Show Notes:

Where other people might be too intimidated to have challenging conversations with someone of higher status, accomplishments, or power, Shannon finds it easy.

  • Shannon approaches others as people with a Unique Ability® that make them potential partners.
  • Titles, positions, or status indicate their past, but not who they are as human beings.
  • Shannon is interested in what she can connect with them about and how she can contribute to their mission.
  • This is the Partnership Mindset, and it’s a relationship superpower.

Relating to someone in a position of power whom you perceive as being more capable or more successful than you can put you in “The Gap.”

  • The Gap is the distance between the ideal and where you are now.
  • When you focus on someone’s status or accomplishments, you’re valuing those things as “ideal.” Then, comparing that with your status or accomplishments, you see yourself falling short.
  • You can’t have a Partnership Mindset when you’re in The Gap.
  • You can’t build a productive relationship with an idol.
  • You’ll miss what their goals are, what’s keeping them up at night, what their opportunities are, where their weaknesses are, and therefore how your strengths can be of service to them.
  • If you’ve been the one others idolize, hasn’t it been strange to have people assume they know you based on this sliver of your life?

Relating to another person based on how you can be of value to each other is more fun, productive, and healthy and puts you in “The Gain.”

  • Being in The Gain means knowing yourself, what you’re great at, what you’re not great at, and the value you create for others.
  • Relating to others as human beings shows you care about them personally.

How to feel like and be a great partner:

Know thyself. Discover your Unique Ability:

  • CliftonStrengths®: Your talents x effort = top five strengths.
  • Kolbe: How you strive and solve problems, and areas where you need teamwork.
  • PRINT®: What motivates you.
  • WHY.os: What, why, and how you operate internally and message externally.
  • Myers-Briggs, DISC: Profiles that tell you how you’re different from other people.

Once you’ve discovered your strengths and talents, you can tell people what they are.

  • You can also recognize someone else’s strengths and see how you complement each other.
  • Combining complementary talents produces bigger results than what either set could do alone.
  • Be wholeheartedly for the other person; assume the relationship with them and assume you’re going to contribute and collaborate together.
  • Be aligned.
  • Focus on the big picture; look to the results and what you want to accomplish.
  • Be interested; don’t try to be interesting.
  • Trying to be interesting is status oriented.
  • Showing interest generates trust.

Having a Partnership Mindset rebalances relationships.

  • Partnership Mindsets lead to less fear and stress in the relationship.
  • Having a Partnership Mindset gives you access to unimaginable teamwork and the magic it can produce.

If you’re an entrepreneur or team leader, you probably need a support partner.

  • Though the job posting was for an Executive Assistant, Shannon made sure during the interviews that she expected a Strategic Support Partner, a term her first support partner, Nicole, came up with.
  • When Shannon’s current Strategic Support Partner, Katrina, started a year ago, Shannon made sure she understood that they were collaborators, not employer-employee.
  • Katrina’s responsibilities lie in all the areas of her strengths and Shannon’s non-strengths.
  • Katrina is given freedom to speak up when things aren’t working for her so they can both improve the relationship and the teamwork.
  • Katrina’s ownership attitude in her role not only makes things easier for Shannon, but also brings out the best in herself.


The Gap And The Gain by Dan Sullivan

Kolbe: The Conative Connection: Uncovering the Link Between Who You Are and How You Perform by Kathy Kolbe

PRINT: Team Success Podcast, episode 224, “Uncovering ‘The Why Of You’ With Debra Levine” 

WHY.os with Dr. Gary Sanchez 

DISC: Personality Insights

The Team Success Handbook by Shannon Waller 

Unique Ability® 2.0: Discovery by Catherine Nomura, Julia Waller, and Shannon Waller 

Episode Transcript:
Shannon Waller: Would you like to experience more confidence, more progress, more genuine relationships at work? Stay tuned to learn about having a partner mindset and why this is truly a relationship superpower.
Hi, Shannon Waller here, and welcome to Team Success. Today I am going to talk about something that I have realized is a bit of a relationship superpower. And I wanted to share it with you because it’s proven incredibly useful for me. It means I can have conversations that are easy, that other people have told me they find really challenging. And I thought, “What is the difference between how I am handling situations and people from how other people are doing it?” And I’m like, “Oh,” then I figured it out.
So here’s the difference, is that I really look at people as being potential partners, and I really treat them as people rather than their status, their title, or their position. I actually don’t really care about those things. Those things give me an indication perhaps about their past or their stories that might be interesting or their intelligence, which I’m a big fan of, but it doesn’t tell me anything about the person. So I actually don’t relate to their title, position, or power or status. I really don’t actually care.
What I want to know is: who are they as a human being? And I want to know, “Oh, is there a way that I can contribute to them? Is there something that I can help with? Is there something that they’re about that is in connection, that is in accordance and synchronous with what I’m up to?” Is there a message, something I would like to have on my podcast, for example—which is why I have so many fabulous people on the podcast. And I realize that a lot of people don’t have this, what I would call “partner mindset.” And I find it kind of curious because it ends up being a true superpower. When I’m relating to high-level people as people, as opposed to what other people are paying attention to with them, they treat me differently as well—and they treat me as a partner. And that’s how the title of this podcast came about.

About the Author

Shannon Waller, Entrepreneurial Team Strategist, is a natural collaborator who instinctively saw that a thriving Unique Ability® Team can strengthen their entrepreneur, the business, and themselves. A win-win-win. Go, team, is Shannon’s rallying cry.

Profile Photo of Shannon Waller