In September, I walked the Camino Português from Porto to Santiago de Compostela together with my wife. Although we were “together”, we each travelled our own Camino. I walked the entire 240 kilometres while my wife skipped some of the more challenging parts. Along the road we met many other pilgrims, some on bicycles, some walking (while their luggage was being shipped), some carrying a full backpack. In travelling in different ways, it means that everyone experiences their very own Camino!

I often make comparisons between a journey like the Camino and establishing alliances and partnerships. You set out with a goal in mind and will need to adjust various elements while your alliance journey progresses. As a comparison “example”, when we left Porto, my wife did not expect that she would need to skip the more challenging parts of the Camino. However, given the circumstances we had to adjust and therefore change our plans as our journey progressed. 

Similarly, in alliances strategies might change or for some other reason the goal might not be feasible. In such a case you also need to adjust your plans and your execution. 

There is a saying in Spanish, “Caminante, no hay Camino. Se hace Camino al andar.” Roughly translated it means “Walker there is no path. The path is made by walking.” It also implies that every Camino is different. You can follow directions, but your circumstances will be different to someone else’s, and you’ll need to adjust your execution. My journey along the Camino was also different -, although it was my eighth Camino! Properly adjusted, the experience will be great, (and it certainly was for me – yet again!) 

The above resonates with a saying that applies to alliance professionals: “Have you seen one alliance, you have seen one alliance.” In other words, even if you have experience in alliances, the next alliance you’re involved in will be different. You can, and should, build upon your experience and also build upon established best practices. However, as every alliance is different you’ll need to adjust your plans and execution as you progress.  

Remember, for your own alliance journey there is no “set” path, the path can only be created by walking it, or by executing and adjusting your alliance plans when circumstances change.