When did the word “partnership” change its meaning?
The word “partnership” used to denote 1) equal power, 2) equal give, and 3) equal take. As in, both parties learn something important or gain financial reward or feel the satisfaction of contributing to society, both parties happily give something whether knowledge or resources or finances, and both parties have equal power to say yes or no or what the what?
Nowadays, as soon as I hear “I think we could work on a partnership,” my brain automatically translates it into “I would like to sell you something” or “I would like something from you for free.” Saying partnership when you mean something else is a serious time waster. If it takes folks a couple hours of transportation, plus an hour of meetings plus calls and emails to figure out that a partnership really wasn’t the end goal, both parties have lost. Wasted their time. And in business talk, that means both parties have wasted dollars. If you want to make a sales pitch, then call it that. If you want a weeks worth of free advice, call it that. Transparency will always get you further ahead whether that means saving time, engendering respect, or getting what you actually wanted in the first place.
Perhaps we need yet another new phrase. Where market researchers have Sugging (selling under the guise of research), and Mugging (marketing under the guise of research), I’d like to propose Pugging – selling under the guise of partnerships.