In one of our previous Alliance Masterclasses one of the participants asked me “Isn’t it all just common sense?”
We had just discussed the management phase of an alliance. The management phase is the phase where all of the preparation has been done, the alliance has started and is in full operation, effectively the company and their alliance partner are collaborating! This is also the phase in an alliance where it’s important to keep the collaboration healthy and fruitful. The progress must be measured, the stakeholders managed, communication must be frequent and it’s also necessary to perform regular health checks. Compared to some other business relationships, such as customer relationships, it might all seem like common sense indeed.
In the realm of customer management, there are known processes to keep the relationship with customers healthy, to manage the stakeholders, to measure progress and carry out customer satisfaction surveys. Customer relationship management is often already embedded in the organisational processes. Most companies understand that customers are one of the cornerstones of their organisation and thus all processes are diligently followed.
Successful alliances are not “just done”
However, the big difference is that, to many companies, alliances are still new and not well understood. If done at all, alliance management is often done ad-hoc, perhaps as a task on the side. Many people mistakenly think that you can just “do” alliances. Yet, as you know, successful alliances are not “just done”, if you think that way you’ll end up on the wrong side of the 80% rule!
Successful alliances follow a process and are staffed with dedicated professionals, receiving clear leadership support. Stakeholders understand what is at stake and that the dynamics of two (or more) organisations working together are different then the dynamics of their own organisation. Alliance professionals understand their processes and tools to make alliances successful.
“Isn’t it all just common sense?” For alliance professionals it is, but unfortunately many organisations are far from using that alliance common sense as yet. The processes have yet to be set for these organisations and the skills have to be built before alliance management becomes common sense. However, the return on investment of being on the right side of the 80% rule is more than worth the effort.
Is alliance management common sense for you and your organisation? Or is it time to participate in the online Alliance Masterclass – our next one will be held this May!