What if you had more time, more insight, and more grit?

That’s what the right partnership can give you.

Take our free, 12-question diagnostic to see if co-leadership – what we call the “noble partnership” – would be right for you.

Launch survey

What practitioners say

Bill Gates

“Steve [Ballmer] and I were driving the business and Paul [Allen] and I were driving technology. Our success has really been based on partnerships from the beginning.”

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Warren Buffett

“One plus one with Charlie [Munger] and me certainly adds up to more than two. CEOs get into trouble by surrounding themselves with sycophants. It’s beneficial to have a partner who will say, ‘You’re not thinking straight.’”

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Michael Eisner

“My partnership with Frank Wells at Disney represented the most successful 10 years of my career. Growth and profit and the company soared. We had a great time together, complementing each other’s styles and interests in a way that was, I dare say, magical.”

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Why it works

Getting more done

There are only so many hours in the day. Solo leaders often have to choose between working around the clock or else not getting everything done. Many leaders feel perpetually behind.

A partner can add hours to your day, and days to your week.

Getting smarter faster

Solo leaders are often starved for feedback on their skills, habits, and knowledge. A partner offers you a different skillset and perspective. A partner can help you see your blind spots.

A partner can make you a better teacher – and a better student – of your work.

Sustaining and growing

The most effective solo leaders end up indispensable. Unable to step away – either to take vacation or to pursue new opportunities – they become victims of their own success.

A partner can allow the transfer of responsibility and knowledge to happen on the job. Every. Single. Day.

Who else is doing it

There are hundreds of examples of co-leadership between co-founders or co-CEOs. Only a few organizations have woven partnership for leaders into their DNA, applying it to hundreds or thousands of pairs of leaders. But these few organizations have led their industries for decades: the Mayo Clinic, Toyota, and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Here are a few prominent examples of co-leadership.

The Mayo Clinic

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Toyota

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The U.S. Armed Forces

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Walt Disney & Roy Disney

Disney co-leaders

Dave Packard & Bill Hewlett

HP co-ceos

Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs

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Andy Grove, Bob Noyce & Gordon Moore

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Henry Kravis & George Roberts

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Larry Page & Sergey Brin

Google co-founders

John Lasseter & Ed Catmull

Pixar co-ceos

Walter Robb & John Mackey

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Steve Ells & Monty Moran

Chipotle co-ceos

Why it is hard

Co-leadership is not easy. There are three challenges that many novices fear.  Here’s what practitioners say about each.

What practitioners say about challenge #1

  • Co-leadership increases speed relative to the solo model, because you can divide and conquer on many decisions
  • Dialogue improves the quality of decision-making
  • Tie-breaking authority can be assigned to one side

What practitioners say about challenge #2

  • Both sides should be jointly accountable for overall results
  • Partners can define a routine rhythm of interactions, and use positive peer pressure to create daily accountability to execute
  • This increases accountability relative to the solo model, which relies too much on monthly meetings and creates single points of dependency

What practitioners say about challenge #3

  • For many high-stakes leadership roles, the benefits far exceed the costs
  • Design the partnership to reflect where the value is, whether it is reducing strategic or execution errors, increasing productivity and adaptability, reducing dependence on particular individuals, and/or reducing burn-out and attrition

How we can help

New to co-leadership?

Begin by taking our free 12-question Leadership Diagnostic to see if partnership would be right for you.

Start here

Already practicing co-leadership?

Begin by taking our free 15-question Co-Leadership Diagnostic to see where your partnership is strong, and where it could improve.

Start here

Wanting to unlock more leadership within your organization?

Begin with the free 17-question “Co-Leadership at Scale” Diagnostic to see whether your organization would benefit from practicing co-leadership at scale.

Start here

Who we are

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Noble Partners is a management consulting firm based in Gainesville, Florida and serving clients in the U.S. and Canada.

Our mission is to unleash the power of partnership for leaders everywhere.

We fulfill this mission in three ways.

1. Building awareness and understanding

We do this by sharing the stories of great pairs of leaders. We also share the stories of great organizations that apply partnership at scale (like Toyota, the Mayo Clinic, and the U.S. Armed Forces).

2. Designing and enhancing partnerships, two by two

We help pairs of leaders design and enhance their partnerships using our co-leadership canvas, our co-leadership toolkit, and on-going coaching services.

3. Unlocking more and better leaders at scale

We work with business leaders who want to increase the quantity and quality of leaders they have available to meet strategic needs. We help them build their talent model around partnership to harness the benefits at scale experienced by Toyota and the Mayo Clinic.