5 power partnerships for top lessons in teamwork

Learn from the best: take some teamwork lessons from the power couples who have created the perfect working/personal relationships.

1. Bill and Melinda Gates

Working more closely than most, this couple has created an immense charitable legacy – due to their joint efforts on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It's said the foundation was initially Melinda's project, but Bill has thrown himself into the endeavour wholeheartedly – showing that sometimes the best thing you can do as one half of a team is listen (and then commit) to the other person's bright ideas.

2. Sheryl Sandberg and David Goldberg

For Sandberg, the key component to any relationship, whether it's professional, personal or both, is communication. She attributes her relationship’s success to the fact that she and Goldberg not only communicate well, but also equally split responsibilities at home and make sure not to prioritise one career over the other. This is perhaps a big ask when one half of the relationship is the COO of Facebook and the other is CEO of SurveyMonkey, but sharing responsibilities strengthens the team.

3. Marissa Mayer and Zackary Bogue

Mayer, who left Google to take the helm at Yahoo, and investor Bogue have one of the most powerful partnerships around, and they attribute their success to an excellent work ethic. The pair has no set rules about separation of jobs and personal life; instead, they allow the two to work in synergy and often squeeze in a few minutes of business here and there. Their willingness to work together to balance priorities is an excellent lesson for any team.

4. Xochi and Michael Birch

This ultra-successful couple has had a hand in many notable start-ups, from Bebo to BirthdayAlarm, and Xochi revealed that one of the secrets to their success is the ability to divide and conquer. She says it’s best to never work on the same area of business at the same time, allowing space within the partnership while always keeping goals aligned. Finding ways to play to individual strengths and giving each member of a team time to grow is a sure-fire route to success.

5. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg

For Facebook's reigning king and queen, the key to a great partnership is the willingness to follow the rules. When Chan first moved to California to be with Zuckerberg, the pair wrote up a 'relationship agreement' that included promises to enjoy date nights once a week and specific amounts of alone time outside the office. Setting boundaries and creating rules make it much easier to ensure that everyone's needs are met – essential whether you're looking at a partnership of two or a team of hundreds.

Give your teams the opportunities they need to thrive by seeing how easy it would be for you to take the advice of the business world's most successful power partnerships.

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