Get past the spreadsheets and project details, and success in a private equity fund/management team relationship comes down to pretty much what your mom used to tell you: be nice.

“Treat each other with courtesy and respect,” Ben Davis, partner at Energy Spectrum Capital, told attendees at the recent Midstream Finance conference. “No financial success is worth short-cutting that, in our view. In our 23 years, we’ve found that this is a cornerstone.”

But the etiquette of a successful partnership between a management team and a private equity sponsor transcends acting in a pleasant manner—though that aspect is important. It also involves finding the right fit in terms of finance and aligning economic interests.

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