Marriage and AllianceOn a warm and sunny Friday morning in May my wife and I said “Yes!” to each other and with that we perpetuated our personal alliance into a marriage. That particular Friday morning is already 26 years ago and last Tuesday on the 26th we went out to celebrate our anniversary with a lovely dinner at an Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam.

Like I did in the opening of this article, the resemblance is often made between a marriage and a strategic alliance. In recent trainings the dubiety about their comparability came up a couple of times.

Most often a strategic alliance is established for a fixed term. At the end of that term there are several options. Either the contract is extended or renegotiated, the alliance is being transformed into a new form, or the alliance is terminated. To my best knowledge marriages are established for an indefinite period. Well, indeed, some marriages are prematurely terminated, but they started as being indefinite.

Key success factors for strategic alliances include elements like executive support, trust, structure, communication and regular evaluations and health checks. Some of those elements might be difficult to recognize in marriages; how to define for instance executive support, would that be the approval of your in-laws?

Then there is that elusive thing called love in marriage. Love blinds, so what happens to the resemblance and to all the rational elements and structure we try to bring into strategic alliances to make and keep them successful?

There is some resemblance though: if done well, both marriages and alliances are long term relationships. Both of them will not last by themselves; you need to work hard and communicate frequently to keep that relationship healthy and the involved partners happy.

How would you see the resemblance between a marriage and a strategic alliance?

Enjoy your week!


Some additional reading: