An imprimatur (sometimes abbreviated as impr., from Latin, “let it be printed”) is a declaration authorizing publication of a book. The term is also applied loosely to any mark of approval or endorsement.

Wikipedia

Imprimatur has become a weird but helpful internal codeword for me and Daryl to use in the office.

Daryl and I are business partners. He is also clearly the CEO. He takes the lead in setting the overall vision for Little Engine Ventures. We’ve worked together for a long time and share our core values. So his vision and mine often, but not perfectly, align. Where we are out of alignment, he listens—a lot. But ultimately decides where we are headed.

Then I go out into the world to meet with our managers, co-owners, and business sellers. When I do that, I do so as an imprimatur. I have the endorsement of Daryl and, in turn, all of Little Engine Ventures. It’s powerful and super effective when used thoughtfully. It’s also disastrous when used inappropriately.

So we’ll close a discussion before I head out into a particularly sensitive meeting with Daryl saying, “remember, you have imprimatur.”

Every partnership needs those codewords that carry more meaning than even Wikipedia offers. This is one of our more unusual ones.

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