LEAVING SOMETHING ON THE TABLE

By Paul Yung

Heng Ah! Ong Ah! Huat Ah!

Happy Chinese New Year to everyone who’s part of the SJ Echo community who celebrate this auspicious festival!

In this season of good food and great celebration with friends and family, have you noticed a funny Asian food culture, how there is one “paiseh” piece of food left on a dish? And everyone pretends not to want it, and instead we offer the piece around the table in awkward courtesy? I’ve found myself in these situations before.

This got me thinking about partnerships. I have learnt that the key to establishing a successful partnership is to always leave something on the table. This means that we refrain from taking full advantage of the relationship. After all, how will a partnership be successful if both parties are not properly incentivised to make the partnership a success.

To me, a partnership is a symbiotic relationship between two parties that have something unique to bring to the table. This is true for all types of relationships between business partners, husband and wife or any other partnership really. In a business context, we should always start the partnership with proper terms of engagement. This process would typically have both sides annexing their territory, trying to “land grab” as much as possible.

Of course, it’s important to make sure what we do is worth our while, however, in the true spirit of partnering to building long term success, remember to leave enough on the table to incentivise the other party or leave it as neutral ground for future endeavors such as additional partners, staff share pools, growth budgets, etc.

When I know that my partner is being fair and flexible, I would be the same, and these are the buds for a long-term partnership.

I invite you to think about this the next time we engage with someone for any form of partnership. But in a food context, enjoy the last piece of makan and don’t waste any food-lah bro!

Here’s wishing every one of you an auspicious, healthy, and prosperous Chinese New Year!