In our Alliance Masterclasses we like to keep it very practical, in the sense that what we discuss in class can directly be applied to a participant’s situation. In between each lesson, we assign homework to apply the learnings to each individual situation and in the following lesson we will solicit feedback. Of course, we would like to know about our participants’ experience, but especially we are looking for learning points and areas that need further clarification. 

In a recent round of feedback for one of our Alliance Masterclass, one of the participants concluded that alliance management is not Rocket Science and then others chimed in. They felt that the principles of alliance management are rather simple.  

Indeed, alliance management is not Rocket Science and its principles are simple! They are simple but not easy: execution of these simple principles can be very hard. 

In alliance management, you are working with a variety of stakeholders in your own organisation and in your partners’ organisations. Stakeholders are not necessarily 100% in synergy with your alliances. They will have their own interests which might not fully align with the goals of your alliances. They may also not be aware of the right alliance management principles (tip: send them to our Alliance Masterclass). A considerable amount of your time as an alliance manager will go into orchestrating your stakeholders, communicating with them, bringing and keeping them onboard and ensuring that they act in the interests of the alliance. 

Besides that, every alliance is different; with different stakeholders, different partners and  different value propositions. As such you can not simply copy and paste an approach that worked for one alliance to another. For every alliance you will need to redesign the best way to apply the simple alliance management principles. As we say in alliance management “if you have seen one alliance, you’ve seen one alliance”.   

In alliance management you will have a continuing educational opportunity by learning from every alliance you’re involved in. Also, in most alliances, your stakeholders will be from all levels of the organisation in question. That will challenge your communication and relationship skills and will also enable you to have a broad overview of both your and your partner’s organisations. 

Alliance management might be simple, but it’s not easy; yet it is one of the best jobs in the world!  What has been your experience in applying the principles of alliance management to your alliances? Perhaps some have been more challenging than others?  I’d be interested to know your thoughts.