Thanks to a post by Kevin O’Keefe I discovered a terrific business law blog written by New York business lawyer Nina Kauffman. Nina had a recent post on how the game of kickball applies to strategic alliances. Her point is that the world of business is not too far removed from our playground games. It is always better to know the rules when we enter into business relationships. Nina says,
When collaborating with another company, business owners want to know what will happen to the clients, intellectual property, and flow of money that the strategic alliance creates, for however long the collaboration lasts. Deciding those issues only when they arise is like catching the kickball in mid-air and only then deciding whether the kicker should be "out."
While the kickball rules of the playground are not in writing it is a good idea to reduce your understandings with a strategic business partner to writing. This is particularly true if you have trade secrets or intellectual property you must protect. Unfortunately you won’t have all those screaming kids on the playground to help you in the event your strategic alliance falls apart. Follow the old adage, if you think you have an agreement, get it in writing.