Plumbing is a professionA recent weekend partly was for me about doing some handyman work in the house. I needed a power outlet on a new location and that was easily done. The second task was also easy: I needed to finally fix the door of the fuse box. This door is normally not in sight, so there was no hurry to fix it, but Saturday I finally did it.

Two down, one to go. The first two were pretty easy, but the third one… well,
I misjudged that one.

The task sounds pretty easy: I needed to fix a dripping water tap. So I had my gear and the spare rubber, turned of the main water supply, dismantled the tap and replaced the little rubber inside that should stop the dripping. However, it wasn’t that easy at all: the tap was floating as hard as it could when I turned the main supply back on.

I now had exact the opposite result from what I was looking for and after going back and forth with several possible solutions, I decided to put back the original rubber. The tap is dripping again and I need a professional plumber to help me fix it.

Clearly I made a mistake about the ease of fixing a water tap: it isn’t easy and plumbing is a profession!

It is similar to a mistake I often see when talking to people about alliances and partnerships. Many people feel that alliances are just about collaboration. Worse even: these people feel that collaboration is something we as humans do by nature. They don’t feel there is anything to learn about collaboration or about managing alliances.

These people are destined to end up failing alliances and failing relationships. As easy as collaborating in alliances may seem, it is not. Creating and maintaining successful alliances requires ongoing work from start to finish. There will rarely be moments when you can sit back and watch the alliance run itself. It will require constant attention, like any relationship.

In fact alliances and partnerships are relationships. You and I both know that relationships need constant attention. The moment we slow down, the moment we neglect the relationship, we will see the risk of the relationship fade away at best. In the worst situation you might end up with broken relationships.

It does not have to be that way. With proper preparation, attention and nurturing, a relationship can flourish to the benefit of both partners. Alliance Management is a profession and Alliance Managers know how to prepare for an alliance, how to manage it and how to act when some wrinkles appear on the surface.

Read the other two articles in this series:

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