This is a guest article by Joe Kittel, alliance specialist and founder of LLC. Joe was my guest in episode 3 of ‘The Collaborative Business Podcast’ where we touched upon the 2-Slide MethodologyTM .  In this guest article Joe summarizes the methodology. 


Simply focus collective attention and find unforeseen value

The 2-Slide MethodologyTM  brings radical simplicity and fundamental transformation into the artful science of strategic alliance management

Principles of this Methodology:
There are three basic ideas engrained in the 2-Slide MethodologyTM:

  1. Simplicity can be very empowering.
  2. The process of traversing from complexity into simplicity is transformational.
  3. The essence of any strategic alliance can be described in 2 slides:
    1. incremental value
    2. value-impediments

Our Challenges
This methodology helps strategic alliance managers overcome some of their greatest challenges:

  • Low levels of trust. Trust is the foundation in any relationship, especially in strategic alliances. We constantly struggle to maintain and build trust in these business relationships.
  • Cultural and strategic differences. In strategic alliances the cultural and strategic differences between the partners are often the greatest impediments to value-creation. Over time these differences can be used for the betterment of the alliance, but initially they are challenges.
  • Overwhelming complexity. Here is an incomplete list of what makes our work complex: technologies, legal issues, organizations, decision-making, communications, regulatory issues, financial issues, business plans, reviews, metrics, governance, co-marketing and co-selling.
  • Dysfunctional drama. Alliances involve people. With interpersonal relationships we often have dramatic distractions.
  • Lack of buy-in, alignment and focus. The alliance team often lacks a clear and cohesive focus. Individuals are not necessarily committed to the alliance’s purpose.
  • Value. Value-creation is what a strategic alliance is about. And yet value can be a challenge. We might struggle to articulate the value of our alliance and the value of our own role in the organization. And, even if we are clear about the value expected from the alliance, creating and extracting that value from the alliance can be challenging. We might feel frustrated, sensing there is untapped potential in our alliance.


Process Overview
Here are key attributes of the process in the 2-Slide MethodologyTM:

  • Simple is not easy. Getting to the other side of complexity is hard work. This methodology entails the ability to listen to the voice-of-the-alliance and then distill down what is heard to the alliance’s simple essence. This is hard work, but it is well worth the effort.
  • Listen to the voice-of-the-alliance. It may seem counter-intuitive but the first things you want to hear about are the problems, issues and challenges in the alliance; these things obscure the alliance’s value. In addition, by proactively dealing with problems you build trust and creating a more open and collaborative climate. Then you can more clearly uncover the value-creating opportunities, again by deeply listening to the voice-of-the-alliance. This will lead the alliance to define teaming scenarios and a compelling long-term vision.
  • Listen throughout the alliance. Deeply listen to people from all functional areas, at all levels and on both sides of the alliance. The more you listen the better the results.
  • An on-going and iterative process. This methodology calls for obsessiveness; take the 2-slides with you everywhere and always. As you continually share its content and listen for new insights, the content improves like a fine wine. As the content improves you will become more empowered to lead the alliance.


If this methodology is hard – if being simple is hard work – why do it?

  • Overcome complexity. This benefit is obvious but nonetheless needs to be stated.
  • Increased trust. By dealing with difficult issues, trust naturally improves.
  • More open communications. When cultural and strategic differences are understood and addressed, dysfunctional drama gets neutralized and communications become more open and trust-filled.
  • A healthier and more collaborative atmosphere. Based on greater trust, less drama and more open communications.
  • Increased team buy-in, alignment and focus. When people know they have been heard, team alignment and focus increases.
  • A clear and compelling long-term vision. As new value-creating opportunities surface the long-term vision becomes clearer.
  • Completely leverageable content. With content that captures the essence of the alliance the 2-slides are helpful in any situation, with any audience and in any process:
    • Negotiating contracts
    • Developing informal teaming agreements
    • Developing performance metrics – tangible and intangible, near-term and long-term
    • Executive briefings
    • Alliance reviews
    • Spontaneous requests for status updates
    • Spontaneous offers to help
    • Developing go-to-market collateral
    • Enabling co-selling and developing co-selling tools
    • Managing escalations
    • Developing press releases
    • Press briefings
    • Enabling simpler ecosystem architecting and development
  • Alliance structure and governance. With a clear understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges in the alliance, its organizational structure and governance processes are naturally defined.
  • Adaptive and organic leadership. By being grounded in the voice-of-the-alliance your ability to lead will adapt to any situation or opportunity. The value of your role becomes clearer as you become more valuable.

Let me know if it sounds like this methodology could be helpful in your alliance.


About Joe Kittel: Joe is a strategic alliance specialist and founder of LLC, an international consultancy focused on strategic alliance managers. is about the application of practical spiritual principles in business relationships and helps strategic alliance managers increase personal and organizational effectiveness and create a more value-enabling climate.