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“Partnering” by Jean Oelwang

Tangible lessons from 65+ of the world's most remarkable partnerships.


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March 14, 2022

Lift your purpose to something bigger

Over the past fifteen years, Jean Oelwang has interviewed more than 60 successful partnerships. Six core principles rose to the surface throughout this exploration, creating a framework for building meaningful partnerships. The Six Degrees of Connection framework is the basis for Jean’s new book Partnering, which shares insight on how we can all forge deep connections that make great things happen. 

The first degree of connection in the framework is Something Bigger. Something Bigger explores the inextricable links between purpose and partnership – helping us identify, evolve, and scale the legacy of our impact in the world. 

The people Jean interviewed used different language to describe purpose: “an audacious goal,” “a mission,” “a North Star.” But repeatedly said that they reached to achieve Something Bigger, an outcome that went beyond themselves, their partnerships, and their organizations.

Many of us are not aware of the possibilities when we leverage the power of relationships. But many of the most meaningful contributions to the world have been achieved by a combination of people coming together with a shared purpose – or supporting each other to achieve their individual purposes. 

As Jean explained, “I have often mistaken purpose as a solo endeavor, but the most meaningful things happen when people come together, like small streams merging into a powerful river.” 

A desire for collective success ultimately helps relationships weather inevitable ups and downs. In turn, the people in these solid, long-term relationships can supercharge their shared or individual impact by holding each other accountable and supporting one another.

Something Bigger acts as the foundation for a flourishing, enduring relationship – and a meaningful life. The stories in Partnering help us understand that this is not a stagnant, perfectly packaged end goal. It is an ongoing evolution that takes shape over time, which your partnerships can help you discover and fine-tune. 

As Jean explained, purpose does not have to be as earth-shattering as ending apartheid or closing the ozone hole. It simply must be Something Bigger than yourself, something that will make a difference in others’ lives and create a legacy of positive change. 

To order your copy of Partnering, click here. Please stay tuned for more insights on the other collaborative design principles that make up the Six Degrees of Connection. 

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