In the realm of strategic alliances, there are two types of executives in the business world, those who truly understand alliances and those who do not. The first group is supportive, collaborative, and comprehends the importance of a triple-win in alliances.

However, it is the second group that often poses the greatest challenge and frustration for Alliance Managers. These executives view alliances as a magical solution—a mere wave of a magic wand that will instantly yield results!

There are tales I’ve heard of executives who accompany an Alliance Manager to visit a partner, only to contact the Alliance Manager two weeks later demanding to know why the revenue hasn’t materialised! Their thinking is that since they paid a visit to the partner, results should immediately follow. Sadly, alliances do not work in such a way; they are not magic wands.

Strategic alliances, particularly, are built for the long-term. While revenue may be an important factor in certain types of alliances, it is a lagging indicator. Revenue is the outcome of prior collaborative efforts.

Executives who fail to grasp this concept unknowingly undermine the relationship. They place undue pressure on the partner to deliver immediate results, neglecting the fact that revenues stem from a joint endeavour. Just as you must sow seeds and nurture crops over time, reaping the rewards of an alliance requires patience.

An executive has a critical role to play in their interactions with counterparts at the partner organisation. They must build relationships, establish trust, and work together towards shared goals. However, an executive’s role extends beyond relationship building and trust. They must also champion the alliance within their own organisation, advocating for its value to other executives.

Executives who truly understand their role also understand the nature of alliances. They recognise that alliances are not magic wands but rather the product of collaborative teamwork, both with the partner and within their own organisation.

In the governance structure of alliances, Alliance Managers, executives, and other functions all play vital roles. Regardless of the size of your company or your partner’s company, establishing a robust governance structure is essential.

During our Alliance Masterclass and online course “Creating Successful Partnerships“, Anoop Nathwani and I guide participants in creating successful alliances. We often find that many overlook the importance of implementing an effective governance structure to support Alliance Management. In our training, we discuss various governance tools that enable Alliance Managers to track the alliance’s progress and gain valuable insights. These tools often enlighten Alliance Managers, providing practical techniques they can immediately apply within their own alliances.

Our online course is available on-demand and the next Alliance Masterclass will take place in October, (see the links above), or the Alliance Accelerator website for more information.

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