The Third Turn

Written by Dr. Mark L. Vincent & Kristin Evenson
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Do we really want to associate together?

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Sep 30, 2021 6:45:00 AM



What do you make of the above diagram? 

Two similar-looking but not identical bodies appear to be coming together in some way, no? The diagram is one way to visualize any form of people or organizations trying to associate because they want to do something together:

  • Business partnerships
  • Franchising 
  • Mergers
  • Acquisitions
  • Joint ventures
  • Selling an enterprise
  • Planning a successful succession
  • Establishing a local chapter of a movement

This list could be longer - especially if we consider any form of negotiation and deal-making, or any form of associating, even for the briefest of periods, such as running a capital campaign or establishing branch offices.

So much value gets birthed, or potentially so, when associating. And so much more gets missed or destroyed. Let's look more closely.:


One party's vision gets drawn to the center - the IT- when forming a deal, the reason for the partnership, or some form of coalition. What is it we seek to do? A buy-out? A new service or product that requires a partner? Building a new site that gives its manager an equity stake for it to get launched? Developing a licensing agreement so that the enterprise can scale up?

The other party's vision is also drawn to the IT that forms an association; else they would not be at the table.

Each organization points directly at the IT separately and as if it is the only thing that matters. Maybe they are conscious of their own perception and perspectives as they do. Often they are not.

  • Sharp negotiators can describe the IT of the other party so that the other party recognizes they are considering the same subject.
  • Savvy negotiators understand how the other party perceives the IT they are looking at and can describe the other party's perception in such a way that the other party is confident that both parties see it the same way.
  • Suburb negotiators use this shared perception to discern with the other party so that the other party gains insight into themselves. 'You understand us even better than we do!"


  • Sharp negotiators get the deal done. 
  • Savvy negotiators make sure they don't lose when getting the deal done.
  • Superb negotiators ensure that the other party wins and wants to continue in a strategic partnership.

Two additional observations:

  • The more complex the IT is, the more challenging it is to sustain this expanded vision of how the other party discerns. 
  • The farther two parties must travel toward associating, the more pull there is to focus only on an individual's IT - to stop even seeing themselves and their IT, let alone the IT of the other party.

One need only witness an organizations' due diligence process in the hands of accountants and attorneys to see how quickly the original vision of associating gets scuttled. Instead, the focus becomes getting a precise rendering of the current value instead of forming the association. In such moments, it becomes a battle of perceptions, a war over how to count value. Discernment doesn't even enter the room.

How can we hope to articulate the perspective of another party, helping them achieve their purpose when we show ourselves unable to speak or navigate from our own?

-mark l vincent

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Topics: Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, Executive Development, Peer-based advising, CEO peer-based advising,, Executive peer-based advising, Maestro-level Leaders, The Third Turn, The Third Turn Podcast, Future Value, Kristin Evenson, Building the Future

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