Creative Genius Podcast

Season 9 Episode 6

Nurturing Productive Partnerships (Christi Barbour)

Nurturing Productive Partnerships (Christi Barbour)

Business partnerships have something of a bad reputation. And not without good reason. An estimated 70 percent of all business partnerships eventually fail. On average, partnerships last no more than eight years. A majority last five years or less. However, with the right formula and constant care, partnerships can survive and thrive for many years.

In this episode, Gail talks with Christi Barbour, founder and partner, Barbour Spangle Design in High Point, North Carolina, which specializes in both residential and commercial design. Christi and her partner Christi Spangle started their design firm 24 years ago and are still going strong. Over the years they’ve learned how to draw on and complement each other’s strengths to drive and grow their highly successful business.

Christi told Gail that in the beginning she and Christi both tried to do everything. But in time they realized that they each were good at very different things. They shifted their approach to focusing on their respective strengths, which proved to be a more effective way to run the business.

The one area in which they constantly coincide is their values. “You have to know your values align,” said Christi. That applies to the members of their team as well. When everyone believes in and shares the same values, then you can work together to achieve common goals, she said.

“You have to treat it like a marriage,” said Christi. Partners have to have a high level of respect for one another. You need to know how you complement one another, where your respective strengths are, and how you can support one another. Moreover, you need to truly care about each other’s welfare, be willing to take the bad with good, and be compassionate.

Christi also talked about some of the things she’s learned along the way that have contributed to the business’s success. “Initially, I didn’t listen to my gut,” she said. “When I started listening to my gut, there was a shift.” In addition, she mentioned learning to have hard conversations for the greater good and surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you and share your values.

Gail and Christi touched on a number of other topics during their conversation. They include how she has created an award-winning workplace culture, her role in the firm, her future plans for the firm, and her charitable activities. For all that and more, listen to the entire podcast.

If you’re listening on your favorite podcast platform, read the full shownotes here:

Mentioned in This Podcast

To learn more about Christi and her work, go to the firm’s website at

Christi mentioned a book Gail had recommended to her, Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters. It is widely available through online booksellers.

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