You might think that alliance management is all about creating value and enabling business results. However, I might argue that alliance management is a social profession. 

In the responses to the survey about the effects of the pandemic and home working on alliance work, many people described that they value the flexibility and freedom that home working brings to their life. Most people see an increased efficiency and an improved work-life balance. Some are actually very happy with the lack of commute and travel! It also seems that many “useless” meetings are no longer planned. 

What really jumps out of the responses is the personal aspect of home working. On one side, respondents mention that video calls do the job to a certain extent, but do not make up for real personal contact. On the other side, respondents value the fact that shorter calls and better access to stakeholders makes the connection stronger. People also take time to learn more about each other’s personal situation. In between the lines of all responses, I read a strong sense of “we’re in this together”.  

We also experienced that personal connection in the online Alliance Masterclass. Without the need to travel, the first masterclass brought people from 3 continents together. It was a highly interactive class, where group work was done in virtual breakout rooms. There was only one element from the in-person class that was difficult to perform in an online class: one of the participants quoted that he was missing the informal chat during the coffee break. For the next Alliance Masterclass we will find a way to bridge that too. 

Alliances are created between organizations. Creating value and enabling business results are essential elements. However, alliances are executed to success by people and their personal connections. This is what makes alliance management a social profession.